Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Mindy Solomon @ SCOPE Miami

If you're going to Miami for the Art Basel Show, do stop by at SCOPE and see St. Petersburg gallerina and Art Taco friend Mindy Solomon's exhibit, which, among 75 others, is housed in an 80,000 square foot pavilion across the street from Art Miami, in the heart of the Wynwood Gallery Arts District.

 “This season we want to highlight SCOPE’s lead role as creative R+D for a wider audience of taste makers who make art their business,” says their President & Founder Alexis Hubshman. “Introducing artists, curators, and cutting-edge galleries to new international audiences has made SCOPE the most comprehensive destination for the emerging art world.”

It is financially a very successful venue, claiming sales of over $100 million and attendance of over 30,000 visitors from their shows in Miami, Basel, New York, London and the Hamptons.

 Mindy Solomon is taking work from Jeremy Chandler, Muir Vidler & SunKwan Kwon.

Location: Wynwood Gallery Arts District | 3055 North Miami Avenue | Miami, Florida 33127

--- Luis

Sunday, November 28, 2010

C.Emerson @ Aqua 10

Going to Art Basel in Miami? Be sure to drop by the Aqua Hotel at 1530 Collins Ave, Miami Beach, FL 33139, on Collins A short walk south of Art Basel Miami Beach across from the Loews Hotel. Aqua's organizers are Seattle-based, and it is a premier venue for West Coast and emerging artists.  

St. Petersburg gallerina Lori Johns, owner/director of the C. Emerson gallery -- and friend of Art Taco -- will be exhibiting at Aqua, with her stable of artists, Lee Basford, Kyan Bishop, CLayton Chandler, Dirk Dziminsky, Rocky Grimes, Francesco Lo Castro, Kristen Margiotta, and Leah Oates.

I know she has devoted a tremendous amount of energy into this show, and want to wish her the very best at Art Aqua.[Link]

--- Luis

Ps. Aqua will be running free shuttles to Art Basel during regular event hours, picking up at Art Basel's designated shuttle stop, (corner of 17th St. & Washington Ave).

Saturday, November 27, 2010

The Heights, Fire Inspections, and Johnna Guzman

  Art doesn't happen in a vacuum. A lot of the time it requires a building to house it. The same goes for art parties. One of the great venues for parties in Tampa is "The Heights", AKA "The Trolley Barn" and "Tampa Armature Works", all having to do with the 100 yr old building's various incarnations. It is a 70,000 sq. ft. building in three long rectangular partitions.

Johnna Guzman is an event coordinator who put on a great and successful art party and show for the Dogma pet rescue people earlier this year called "Barkin Hearts", with an Alice in Wonderland theme (and fire eaters!). In between, there's been several events held at The Heights, some of which Art Taco (AT) attended, including Oktoberfest (where AT was an er...uninvited guest) and the Refractory Show, which was reviewed here. More than 6,000 people attended Oktoberfest, drinking 102 kegs in 3 days. Thousands came for Nude Nite, Pride on Seventh and Tampa Bay Fashion Week. The Fire Dept could see no problems with the building for any of those events.

The problem is that the structure does not meet fire safety codes, according to Tampa Fire Marshall Russell Spicola. Of course, it hasn't met them for a very long time, over the course of several events. Halloween Haunted Houses reportedly have stricter requirements, such as the flammability of the materials used. However, some of the deficiencies noted by the Fire Dept have little to do with that, and should have applied to all events there, such as the lack of illuminated fire exits.

The Fire Dept ended up pulling the Plug on Dogma's benefit less than a week before it was to go on. Ms. Guzman lost $5,000 plus her revenues for putting on the event. Dogma lost a fundraiser, and Tampa, a great party.

Darren Booth of The Heights' development, has agreed to comply with the TFD demands and is working on a plan to bring everything up to code. It is a real shame that this show was cancelled, and that nothing could be worked out to allow it to go on. The lesson here for all event coordinators is to check with the TFD as to the viability of the venue, whether it has been approved for Public Assembly, etc. and get it written into the contract.

Ms. Guzman is an irresistible force, and AT looks forward to her next event.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

This Thanksgiving/Black Friday Weekend: Nov 26th - 28th

After the big (gobble, gobble) day, when everyone in your house (including the cat) is living on the Elena Ruiz diet [Link], and memories of camping outside Wal-Mart for a shot at the 5 AM rush are making you wish you could swing by a Walgreen's and pick up one of these [Link] life goes on. This weekend a few art venues are mimicking retail stores (have you seen the Florida Craftsman Gallery windows lately?) competing with their own "Black Friday".

Black Friday Art and Fashion Event - Vitale Studio and Local 662 are having a sale. Fifty artists' work will be for sale. After 6 PM, it turns into an art opening party, with DJ Mega, and a fashion show with Frank Strunk III & MisRed.  Blue Lucy, Chris Parks, Tes One, Dan Lastata, Kathryn Cole, J. Vitale, Kate Cummings, Bradley Askew, Josh Sullivan, HUGO, Kendra Bailey and others. Friday, Nov 26th, 10AM-5PM free, $5 after 6PM. to midnight. Fashion show begins at 9PM. Vitale Art Studio, 651 Central Ave.  St. Petersburg.

Black Friday @ St. Petersburg Clay Company - Usable, hand-made ceramics and decorative pieces made by Clay Company members go on sale. Demonstrations of the process will be on exhibit during the day. Friday,  Nov 26th, 10 AM - 5 PM, 420 22nd St. S, St Petersburg.

Fatima Rice @ Studio 620 - Friday, Nov 26th, opening reception for an installation by Fatima Rice. Free. Through Dec 4th. 620 First Ave S. St Petersburg.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving To All

Wishing everyone here a Happy Thanksgiving. When I give thanks tomorrow, I will be thanking everyone that has helped to make Art Taco a success. Our members, readers, the gallerists, cafe and bar owners, the dear, beautiful friends that accompany and support me on my rounds, and the ones who encouraged the start of Art Taco. Last, but not least, a bow in gratitude to all the artists without whom our lives would be much poorer. Have a wonderful day.

--- Luis

Ps. [Link]

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

University of Tampa Plays @ Falk Theater: Sweet Charity

   Last Sunday Art Taco and friends went to see the University of Tampa's production of "Sweet Charity" at the Falk theater. It was directed by Director and choreographer Marguerite Bennett, UT associate professor of speech, theater and dance, along with co-choreographer and UT dance professor Linda Lopez. With two month's rehearsals, they, along with a talented and well-trained cast, brought the classic Neil Simon play to life onstage. Bob Fosse choreographed the original version, and Mss. Bennet and Lopez did a great job there, too.

A wide range of period costumes, seventy in all, were expertly designed and created by Bobby Ann Loper and Frank Chavez.

 Technical director Alex Amyot's sets transformed seamlessly from one scene to another.

The student cast was nothing short of phenomenal, and not just the protagonists but everyone on stage sang, danced and performed their hearts out. Congratulations!

It was an excellent theatrical experience. The run for Sweet Charity is over, but keep an eye on Art Taco's "This Weekend" section for their next play.

--- Luis

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Invisible Art: The LAPD's Stolen Art Database

  Here's a glimpse of art in private collections you'd normally never see. The LAPD keeps a database of stolen art on its site. Enjoy....


[Scroll down to stolen art and choose your medium]

--- Luis

Friday, November 19, 2010

Berlin @ The Ritz: Three Artists

The Square One Events at the Ritz bring in a large number of artists, who are vetted by Okie, and pay an admission fee & get a space (4x6 ft or so) in the form of a pegboard, or multiples thereof. There's a lot of variety and media, except for sculpture, which is rare (and hard to hang on a pegboard). Lighting at the Ritz is spotty, no pun intended, a difficult mix between getting enough light to see and appreciate the work and maintaining the subdued atmosphere one normally associates with a bar -- and that's in the two front rooms. In the large back room by the stage, when events begin, the lights are dimmed to minimal levels. Some of the art is barely visible. On the other hand, that room often has the most viewers in it.

In that room, around a corner, was the work of Carrie Vail, a painter who came to Tampa three years ago via Las Vegas, where she lived at the time construction and the real estate bubble were peaking, rapidly erasing historical landmarks -- all at a fevered pitch. The artist seems to have been affected by this shockwave in her landscapes, some of  which show a multitude of clone-houses flooding the conceptual space inside the frame. [Link]

These houses are skeletal, ghostly, incomplete, definitely not homes, and strewn around in a dystopic fashion. Made of paint and tape, the tears at the ends of the tape add a touch of emotion/passion to the work. Paint drips and horizontal tape add up to a subtle visual grid in these pictures. My personal favorite: [Link]

  [Link] Note the cascade of paper refuse down the outside of the frame in this one. Carrie is very well aware and riffs off the potential of the frame as a visual and conceptual element, not just a container for the image. She does this in an incisive self-portrait [Link]    where she is staring deadpan, almost Durer-like [Link] but recontextualized into 2010, and feminine manner, into what appears to be the camera lens, including some typical monotaxic perspective distortion (what is referred to in photography as 'lightbulb head'). This portrait plays with the edge, including the information the camera provides. We can see the timestamp, brand, number of rolls through the camera (rolls in a digicam?), even the status of the battery, which might be symbolic for the artist's condition, or not. Self-referential, it alludes to the dual processes via which it was made, and adds a secondary frame.

Another stand-out (self-portrait?) is this [Link]. Love two things about this one, first, how the figure's elongated left arm forms a secondary frame, and the concept of the artist being nude, but not naked. The black and red background...half-passion, half-mystery. She still retains her identity as a mystery, her eyes masked by what appears to be the shadow of the arm. And the gesture is delightfully, perfectly, ambivalent: I have no way of knowing if it's being donned or removed. The artist revealing and concealing herself simultaneously.

Last, but not least, is this [Link] great heart in the conceptual landscape. Note that the biological heart is also framed by a white, spiritual one. In this landscape, the hearts are dominant, the meaty one's blood vessels look like expressway cloverleaf interchanges. Here the houses relegated to subdued, small forms, more orderly, and if one looks, there are other, smaller hearts that have nested among the now-rooted houses, no, make that homes.

--- Luis

[The following review was written by Art Taco correspondent Lydia Gottardi]

Always a treat at Square One is the table of Case Max,a  graphic illustrator who sells affordable reproductions of his stunningly-detailed pen and ink drawings (some in color) of subjects as varied as ancient gods to Death Metal figures to Japanese fashion, with hommages to heroic feats of myth and folklore, like "Enki, son of Anu", a Sumerian hero who saved humanity from the great Flood, to "The revenge of Sakata Kintoki", a Japanese superhero.

"Gothic Lolita", is a Shinjuku-Girl vision of Nabakov's nymph taken a shade darker with Goth sensibilities, as if Lolita and Vivian Darkbloom (an anagram for Vladimir Nabokov) have spawned a teenager. Whether esoteric, apocalyptic, or darkly playful in tone, Case Max's emblematic drawings all have his unmistakable style. [Link].

--- Lydia

Melisa Taylor's card reads: "artist/photographer/crafter & dessert maker".  In her shop announcement at ETSY, she writes: "I love to show others the way I see things, nature, beauty, every day objects.". Over at Twitter, her bio reads: "Pastry Chef, Crafty Chick, Artsy Phartsy, Foodie, Silly Girl.". The jewelry she makes (some out of skateboards) is also creative, innovative and beautifully designed. It's Melisa's photography that caught my eye. She's shown at several other Square One events.

Melisa's macros are colorful and passionate [Link], and beautifully composed [Link]. Here is a well-seen composite panoramic picture from pre-Katrina NOLA: [Link]. She works with a wide variety of cameras and formats, from the square (in "toy" cameras to Hasselblads) 20x24 Polaroid, to panoramic. There's a light-hearted, grounded, at times humorous, egalitarian quality to her pictures coupled with sensitivity, intelligence, constant exploration, and strong, living, organic sense of design. Her attitude reminds me of Elsa Dorfman's, with a sweet transparency into her life. 


--- Luis

Thursday, November 18, 2010

This Weekend: Nov. 19th-21st

The days are becoming shorter as the year's shadow lengthens. Beautiful, cool days are here...

Utility and Beauty @ Mindy Solomon Gallery - In Art, as in Mathematics, the relationship between utility and beauty has a long history. Ms. Solomon has been subtly exploring apparent dualities in her shows for some time. In this show, she brings us Mernet Larsen, Joseph Pintz, Ingrid Bathe, Patricia Sannit, and Chris Tongard.

Opens Saturday (along with artist's talk, one of the signature features of a Mindy Solomon opening night), Nov 20th @ 6:00 PM Runs through Dec. 31st. 124 2nd Ave NE, St Petersburg. 727.502.0852

Duality @ Centre Gallery - Photographs by Zornitza Natcheva. Desire vs. Expectation. Opening Friday, Nov. 19th, 7-9PM, runs through Nov 24th. Phylis P. Marshall Center, USF, Tampa. 4202 E. Fowler Ave.
Parking is $5. 813.974.5464

Art After Dark @ Tampa Museum of Art - These Art parties are great mixers. This one is themed around the Arte 2010 festival of the Americas. $10. TMA, 120 Gasparilla Plaza, Tampa.

Retro Art Show @ Bamboozle Cafe - Floridian/Tampan Art from 1930 to 1980. Ferdie Pacheco, Burgert Bros, Clyde Butcher, Mario de Ferrante, Bernard Buffet, Johnathan Winters, Arnold Blanch, Lebadang, and many, many others.
Through Nov 30th. 516 N. Tampa St. Tampa. 813.223.7320.

Remember Me, by David Parsons @ Straz Center for the Performing Arts - The East Village Opera Company performs with Parsons Dance. Saturday, Nov 20th, 7:30 PM, Ferguson Hall at the Straz Jr. Center. $39.50 - 59.50 plus service charge.
Art Dresses @ Syd Entel - Mixed media dresses by Karazyna Karbownik, William Todd McCLure, Kathleen Holmes, Craig Alan, Donna McCullough, and Sarah Atkinson.
Through November 30th. 247 Main Street, Safety Harbor. 727.725.1808

Artful Holiday @ Artful Living - Outdoor Art gift fair. Central Ave. and 11th st. St. Petersburg. Sunday, Nov 21st. 11 AM-4PM. 

Craft Art 2010 - Outdoor craft show at Florida Craftsmen Gallery, 501 Central Ave. St. Petersburg. 10 AM - 5PM Saturday and Sunday, Free.

Monday, November 15, 2010

"Berlin" @ The Ritz, by Square One. Part I - The Event.

Okesene Tilo and Jason Moriarty are the principals in the Square One production company, [Link] which, among many other events, puts together two yearly art parties at the Ritz in Ybor [Link]. I have been going to these events since the 2nd one. All have been creative, very well put together, with extreme attention to details, including fast, competent bartending, ample, tactful security manpower on hand, scrupulous adherence to the fire codes,  lots of beautiful people (and models) surgically clean bathrooms, well-timed performances, and more.

 Everything an event should be, and for the price of admission ($2!!!), something anyone can afford in these hard economic times , and perhaps the best event-admission bargain in the state. You might think Square One would be satisfied, lean back and rest on its laurels, but that's not the case. To their credit, and Tampa's benefit, they've been raising the bar for themselves (and others in the area) with every event. And thankfully, it's not just about amping up the spectacular, but the subtleties that go into a multifaceted and memorable evening with something for everyone, including the performers and artists. And...a thematic sensitivity to the zeitgeist.

Bella Danza and the VYB Dance company put on well-choreographed, energized performances. Great music and singers, too.

The "Fashion Show Experience", by Miami fashion designer Paul Raymond was excellent, according to one of Art Taco's beautiful, fashion-savvy friends. Lots of ruffles, high waistlines, legs that went all the way to Canada, bows, chiffon and much more. Airy and light. The models, gorgeous and professional.

Visual artists lined the walls of all the rooms, too many to review them all. In Part II, we will be reviewing three of them.

Congratulations to Oki, Jason and everyone involved for another great evening, and for contributing part of the proceeds to the Tampa Bay Businesses for Culture & the Arts' high school scholarship program. 

--- Luis

Thursday, November 11, 2010

This Weekend: Nov. 12th - 14th

"Berlin" @ Square One @ The Ritz - Okesene Tilo brings us "Berlin", a Square One production event combining art being exhibited, dance, song, fashion and other performers. There will also be a Berlin Wall. guests are encouraged to wear something purple.

7 pm - Midnight, Sat. Nov 13th, Ritz Theater, 1503 E. Seventh Avenue, Ybor City. (Tampa) $2 Admission.

Ybor Art Colony Open House - Just a few doors east of the Ritz, walk over and see the Art Colony, a warren of working artists' studios.  5PM - 9 PM, Sat. Nov. 13th. A Fashion Show by designer Elizabeth Carson Racker will take place. 813.495.4649. 1521 1/2 E. Seventh Ave. Ybor City, Tampa. It's one skinny door, sometimes with no sign on it, so look carefully.

Deck The Halls @ Artlofts at Florida Craftsmen - Artist-made gifts for the holidays, including ornaments, go on exhibit and are for sale. Opening on Saturday, Nov 13th, 5:30-8:30 PM, on Gallery Walk.
Runs Nov 12th to Dec 11th. 10 5th N. St (2nd floor). St Petersburg.

Calling (615) @ Temnpus Projects - Multimedia art exhibit of Nashville artists Nicole Baumann, Derek Cote', Shara De Witt, And Rnald Lambert. Opens Saturday Nov 13th, Party is free to the public. Runs Nov. 13th -26th. Tempus Projects, 5132 N. Florida Avenue.

Obots @ Interior Motives Gallery - Sculptures resembling robots made from found objects that double as home furnishings (!). Opens Sat. Nov 13th from 6PM-9PM. Exhibit runs from Nov 13th to Dec. 5th. At 1110 Central Ave, St Petersburg.

Art Dresses @ Syd Entel - This established gallery is showing dresses made of a variety of materials by Karazyna Karbownik, William Todd McClure, Kathleen Holmes, Craig Alan, Donna McCullough, and Sarah Atkinson. Opening reception on Saturday, Nov 13th, 6-8 PM. Runs Nov 13th-30th. 247 Main St. Safety Harbor. 727.725.1808.

Studio @ 620 Juried Art Show / Works on Paper - Drawings, paintings, prints and installations. Nov 13-22.  620 First Ave S. St Petersburg. Check for hours here: 727.895.6620

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Who am I this time?: Point & Shoot Yourself @ Pale Horse

  Pale Horse Design and Gallery is the studio of Graphic Designer Chris Parks. It is a multi-purpose space which occasionally transforms into a gallery, or more recently, into a combination gallery and Halloween Fun House.

Photographs of a cross-country trip by Allen Leper Hampton from a cross-country trip  premiered on the wall. See here.

The team of artists, composed of , Aziritt, Casey Paquet, Chase Donald, Allen Leper Hampton and Pale Horse put together a series of installations designed for participants (no mere spectators here) to take their photographs in various guises and incarnations. There was a Gothic "mirror" to pose in. See here. And here. One could be a large robotic super-hero type, make-up optional, a skeleton in eternal repose for a moment in a coffin (no carbs, no protein), or this (Todd Sweeny, Dracula, or?),  a robot, or a furry-headed tiger or a pig.

It was a delightful, creative, and very photogenic evening.

--- Clint Thomas & Luis

( This report was largely compiled by guest blogger Clint Thomas, printer at Artful Living. He can be seen here. He's the one in costume.)

Friday, November 5, 2010

Smoke Gets In Your Eyes: Pipe Dreams @ Collective

The Collective has a current show of glass pipes, the kind that are found in headshops with the tags "For Tobacco Use Only", which means they will never be used for that. These are hand-made, mostly glass pipes, or bongs in the vernacular, along with the everpresent Frank Strunk III rusty metal  Strunk-Punk variety, and a few paintings themed around playing/Tarot? cards. One of the principals there told me the show "wasn't curated", which leaves the imagination to wonder how it all happened. Did the participants just come in and hang whatever they brought? 

I can't recommend this show as a fine-art exhibit, and that's the strength (and weakness) of it. This is the kind of show that should get the viewer thinking about what art is. Some of the glass pipes are decorative at best, some are very utilitarian, others are objects of contemplation. All are beautiful. I do think this show is well worth seeing, for engaging in a dialogue with what is there, and not so much how one would categorize it, but questioning its identity -- and your own.

--- Luis 

Collective, 601 Central Avenue, St Petersburg. 727.851.6767

Under The Bed @ Artful Living

Last Friday, Artful Living held its "Under the Bed" opening. The Halloween-themed show was curated solely by St. Peterburg photographer Missy Roll.

Shadoe McKee's "Nowhere to Go", an airbrushed acrylic painting of a screaming child holding up a hand in which there us a wooden door, slightly ajar, with gold light leaking through the edges was laced with sentimentality and lots of drama.

In "The Watchers", by St Petersburg photographer Nikki Devereux, a young woman in what seems to be a white nightgown, sits next to a wall with lighter and darker beams emanating from the figure. On the wall are several eyes watching her, and just above her head, a pair of closed eyes. A very dreamy yet somewhat paranoid image. It is an acrylic gel transfer on birch, a process I want to know more about.

A somewhat creepy bride [Link] in her gown and a classic studio pose with an intense and emotionless gaze looks out at the viewer. This graphic image has been clearly worked over digitally, with harder contrasts, bright pinks and rich textures. The bride reminds me of a sculpture of a bride I saw in a Taos museum, a bulto of a shell-shocked bride. Mr. Thomas' is up to date, and similarly shocked-looking. The title, "Reanimated Passion" makes us wonder what needs re-animation in a bride. 

Geff Bartrand's (aka Dr. Twisted) "The Toys Have turned" is not the kind of Toy Story we're used to seeing. It's a not-too-scary and humorous look at toys-turned-monsters when left alone, their Shadow-side emerging.

Maryanne Wysocki's "Scary Shrine Circus Clown" is a beautifully colored mixed media piece of a little girl on her bed, and a malevolent clown lurking below.

Monsters play when reason sleeps, and not all of them under the bed. Some haven't come out of the closet yet. "Closet Monster", by Patricia Warren is understated, compared to most works in this show. Only the tips of the monster's shoes are visible from the closet's open door, inspiring dread in a "Blair Witch" kind of way.. What we can see of the room looks creepily gritty.

The ubiquitous Frank Strunk III's "Jimmy" consists of a child's mannequin astride a tricycle, with a light fixture coming out of its left arm, and shining a bulb right by his face, which he is reaching for with his right hand.His legs are also dangling by the same kind of gooseneck tubing the light is held by. Elsewhere, Frank has claimed that this construction has moved around on its own!

Putting together things like a Halloween-themed show is risky business, but Missy has brought together a number of works that explore not so much the holiday as the shadowy things that lie below the veneer of reason.

--- Luis

"Under the Bed" can be seen at Artful Living, 1101 First Ave. St Petersburg. No closing date given.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

This Weekend: November 5th - 7th

Ybor Jazz Fest - The First Ybor Jazz Fest. Lots of musicians, like Al Downing Jazz Association, Philip Booth's Vibe, Jim Morey Band, Denise Moore and Then Some, Impromptu!, Helios Jazz Orchestra, Kevin Mahogany & Confluences, and more. All at HCC's College Ybor Campus Mainstage Theater and Studio Theater Ybor City, Tampa.
Through Sunday, Nov. 7th. For prices & to see who is playing, call 813.259.6590.

Dunedin Art Harvest - High quality outdoor art festival in a beautiful setting. Dunedin's Highlander Park. Saturday Nov. 6th and Sunday, Nov 7th. 10 AM - 5 PM. Parking $3-$5. No pets.

Digi-Fab Arhitectural Design @ USF - Master's candidates show their architectural designs. Opening Friday, Nov 5th, Free (USF Parking is $5), at Centre Gallery, 4202 E. Fowler Ave, MSC 700, Tampa. 813.974.5464. Through Nov. 12th.

First Friday Art Walk @ Gulfport - A nice way to spend an evening in the sleepy burgh of Gulfport, home to many of the area's best artists, enjoying arts, music, food and more. Free. 727.322.5217

Intermitent Dreams @ West Tampa Center for The Arts - USF students sell large drawings for $25/ea. with proceeds going to this art center. Music by Robb Fladrym appetizers, etc. Recommended $5 donation. West Tampa Center for The Arts, Gallery 209, 1906 N. Armenia Ave. Tampa. 813.453.4381

Small Works @ Clayton Galleries - The small works in many media by 27 gallery artists. Opens Friday, Nov. 6th at 7 PM. 4105 S Mac Dill Ave Tampa.
Clayton galleries.net