Monday, February 28, 2011

Banksy Bails Out Voina Artists

I recently posted ("Artists Behaving Very, Very Badly") about the exploits of a Russian artists' collective called Voina, and how the police had imprisoned two of its members since Nov. 2010. International graffiti artist Banksy has personally put up $20,000 USD to bail out the imprisoned Voinas. The charges still stand and they will face trial. Bravo, Banksy!

Source: [Link]

Street Art: County Unveils Anti-Graffiti Truck

The County has spent $100,000.00 of state grant money, plus the salaries of the operators and maintenance costs on a truck to pressure wash graffiti off walls. It also has a high-tech six-paint system that matches wall colors.

Source: [Link]

Blood Is Thicker: A Tampa Graphic Novel

Imagine Tampa in the 1940s. From the early 1900's, Charlie Wall had been a criminal overlord in the wide-open city, but his time was coming to a violent close. Writer/Filmmaker Paul Guzzo teamed up with illustrator/fine artist John Fisher, whom I reviewed recently in the Art on Central post, to produce an historical graphic novel about Tampa in the 40's that was carried by Cigar City Magazine. 

Paul Guzzo has also made two award-winning films about Ybor City: The End is Blossoming, a love story in 1940s Ybor, and Charlie Wall: The Documentary, on which Jon Fisher worked as an illustrator. I first saw Jon and Paul onstage at David Audet's Deep Carnivale, where I mentioned them in "Personal Notes II, Deep Carnivale". (Apologies for switching their first names!). [Link].

You can get a sense of the style of the Graphic Novel here: [Link]

Paul can be contacted at:

--- Luis

Street Art: Transformation in Tampa

This stenciled image was seen at a very busy street in Tampa.

Need To Raise Money for your Art in This Economy? Try Crowdsourcing.

How does it work? You describe your project at Kickstarter [Link], and the budget, and people can contribute anything from $1 on up to your project. You have 90 days for the stated sum to be reached, and if it is not, you get nothing. About 45% of the projects meet their goal.

The site was founded by Perry Chen, Yancey Strickler, and Charles Adler in 2009 with the aim of cutting out middlemen/agencies and bring artists and those willing to find them together.

The artists keep their patrons updated as to the progress of their project and give them a chance to see their dollars at work.

In 2010 Kickstarter got $27.6 million pledged.
3,910 projects were funded.
386,373 people pledged money.
50m pageviews
8m total visitors

And, don't forget: Kickstarter works both ways. For the price of a Happy Meal you can become a patron of the arts on a small but significant scale.

Source: [Link]

Call For Artists: Rockin The Arts @ Rob Davidson/Artful Living

Rob Davidson Fine Arts/Artful Living has a call to artists for their Rockin The Arts Show. They're going to have performers on opening night along with the visual arts show. The art must have some connection to the musical theme. The deadline is March 20th.

If interested, e-mail,  call Pat at 727.641.0184 or go to [Link] for more information.

--- Luis

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Take a Picture of a Cow or Farm in Florida? That's a 1st Degree Felony!

Our own Senator Jim Norman, R-Tampa filed a bill last Monday that would make it a 1st degree Felony to photograph a farm or any critters on it without obtaining written permission beforehand. No, this is not a joke. Some overzealous cop is going to ruin somebody's life if this law passes. Never mind that legal experts say it is unconstitutional. Mr. Norman is willing to lay to waste a few million in taxpayer's dollars to try to please his contributors. Hopefully the Supreme Court will squash this ASAP.

Source: [Link]

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Where The Wild Things Art: Call For Artists @ Artpool.

Artpool is accepting submissions for their "Where the Wild Things Art" show until March 8th. The show itself will open on Saturday, March 12th 7:00 PM till Midnight.
Artpool Gallery & Vintage Boutique 919 1st Avee North St Petersburg. The show is inspired by wild animals, pets and non human living forms (!). 1-3 works costs $30, each additional work $5. All sales go to artist. All artists who submit get into the opening night event (party) free. 

ARTpool Gallery & Vintage Boutique
919 1st Avenue North
Featuring an art show inspired by wild animals, pets, & non-human living forms. Submit your art and get into the opening night party for free.

--- Luis

Friday, February 25, 2011

Mike Conway's "Degradated Shadows" @ Salt Creek

Wabi-Sabi is a Japanese aesthetic based on the acceptance of transience. Imperfect, impermanent and incomplete are three of its salient qualities. Other aspects commonly found in it are: Simplicity, economy, austerity, modesty, intimacy and accepting the natural cycles of growth, decay and death. The Japanese differentiate between normal beauty, "kirei" meaning 'pretty' and the wabi-sabi kind with "omoshiroi", which literally means 'white face', but its meanings range from fascinating to fantastic.

Mike Conway refers to wabi sabi in his artist's statement. He mentions how street art catches his attention, particularly when it's weathered. In this show, the mixed media prints are scratched, torn, etc.  then added to via paint, charcoal, textures and encaustic. The work is photographically-based, and "Degradated Shadows" represents a year's worth of Mike's work.

It's been a good year. "Lavinia Forgotten" shows a bust-length image of a woman looking intently at her left hand, which she is holding up even with her face. What seems to be flames issue upwards from her fingertips, as does her hair from the top of her head. A mysterious image of contemplative evanescence. 

A lot of Mike's images here have Floridian themes of the vanishing-Florida kind. There's "Joy" a girl picking oranges in a nostalgic, dreamy grove. The ironwork gate of the Manatee (County) Cemetery, titled "Final Turn", which is more ambiguous than it seems, and reflects on Mike's sense of humor.

In the quadtych "Degradated Shadows, Winter, Spring, Summer and Fall", The theme of impermanence in life, and the beauty in that living state of change are depicted in the context of the passing of a year. Not just a literal four seasons, or a calendrical one, but an inner year as well.

The work in the show has a strong surreal streak running through it. One of the strongest in this regard is "Free Fall".
 A mannequin torso floats, seemingly suspended among the clouds. Mike told me how he did it, the old-fashioned way, by repeatedly throwing the truncated figure literally into the air, and doing it over rolls of film to get the base image. Yes, this could be done easily in digital, but it would not have the rich, impermanent spontaneity this image does. The shadows, as with all of Mike's works here have a delightful, nuanced graduation to them that articulates with the entire visual field.  He adds sheet film-holder edges to the pictures, at least in this case.

"Degradated Shadows" is an engaging, memorable show, one that will help the viewer to make peace with many things that confront us all, and encourage an inner dialogue about the nature of beauty in the art and yourself. It will be up through March 11th, at Salt Creek Artworks, 1600 4th St. S., St Petersburg.

Mike can be reached at or 727.504.3539

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Live Paint on Central, an ArtOn Central event.

I meant to get there much earlier, last Saturday, but the sun was setting. Only a few of the 30+ artists were still working on their paintings.  The first artist I ran into was Josh Sullivan, of the famous artist duo of Josh & Stu, who had already packed up when I arrived. Josh, who paints and does cartoons, had painted a typology of anthropocentric, gesturally expressive robots, apparently with nothing to say (from the empty thought bubble). You can see some of his work here: [Link]. Stu's work here [Link]. Josh and Stu's show III at the Globe Cafe was the first ever reviewed on Art Taco.

Josh Sullivan and his painting

Sebastian Coolidge was putting the finishing touches on this [Link] painting on the sidewalk. A kind of Fascist Juggernaut?

Jon Fisher & his art. Like most of the art I saw left on the sidewalk, his was very humanistic. We talked about the Egyptian Revolution in hopeful tones. He pointed out the Pyramids in the painting (they're small), and told me he would soon be adding a desert sandstorm behind them. You can just see them inside the "4". Lots of Pop iconography in this painting. 

It was a beautiful late afternoon by the time I got there. Just enough golden light...lots of people still milling around.
  This is Stephen Palladino, and above is more of his work. He does beautiful murals, too.
Custom, hand-painted desk with Union Jack motif, painted weathered, cracked wood with peeping eyes, done by Rasta Geary Taylor, of 1 of 1 Customs, 659 Central Ave. St Pete, for his daughter, who wants to go to England.
On the side of the desk, the mustard and ketchup duke it out.
Side View of Desk
The 600 block of Central is about a lot more than the Crislip arcade and the mainstream galleries. There's a wide spectrum of artists on this St Petersburg hotspot. Take time to visit them. All of them. Congratulations to ArtOn Central for a wonderful event.

A special note of thanks to Maja for bringing to my attention a major error.

--- Luis


A Pledge to The Arts: Rahm Emmanuel, Chicago's New Mayor.

Chicago is one of my favorite cities, almost like a second home, so it came as a relief to read now Mayor-elect Rahm Emmanuel speak forthrightly about the importance of the arts to the Windy City.

"As mayor, I will maintain adequate funding for the CSO and other arts groups important to the city of Chicago, and ensure that we use our incredible public assets — like Millennium and Grant Parks — to showcase these performances."

--- Rahm Emmanuel speaking on the arts.

Few newly elected Mayors, or politicians in general, are speaking out about their commitment to the arts as Emmanuel is.

Read the full article here [Link].

This Weekend: Feb. 25th-27th

No Sleep Till Brooklyn - Jason Frondren's last exhibit in Tampa before moving to NYC. Free. At one of Tampa's most extraordinary art venues, the AT recommended Silver Meteor Gallery, 2213 E. Sixth Ave. Ybor City. 6-10 PM Saturday, Feb 26th.  

Synergistic & New Works Exhibit @ West Tampa Center for The Arts - New works by Ariel Baron Robbins (mixed media on paper) and Synergistic, a Collaborative project by Adam Kitzerow. Free, $3 suggested donation. The Center puts on good shows and entertaining evenings with music by DJ Del Fuego and (goodies alert!) appetizers. 1906 N. Armenia Ave. Tampa. 7-10 PM Friday, Feb 25th.

Happy Hour @ Sono, Free Evening Admission @ Tampa Museum of Art - The Sono cafe (run by Mise en Place, no less) at TMA is having a Happy Hour on Friday evening, when the Museum admission is free from 4PM - 8 PM. Sounds like a great way to start the evening. 120 West Gasparilla Plaza, downtown Tampa. Fri. Feb, 25th.

Shooting From The Heart with Laurie Excell @ The Morean - The photographer will lecture and show images, and do a book-signing. $35 for non-members, $20/Morean members. 719 Central Avenue St Pete. 6:30 - 8:30 PM Thursday (today) Feb 24th.

Colloquium: Trenton Doyle Hancock, Narrative Practices @ USF  Contemporary Art Museum - Mr. Hancock and Curator David Louis Norr and interdisciplinary participants from USF will participate in the dialogue. Friday, Feb 25th, at USF Contemporary Art Museum, 3821 Holly Drive, Tampa 10 AM - Noon.

Autonomous Art of Antartica - Scientist/Photographer Paul Suprenand shows prints of down way under. Free. Runs through March 5th. Studio @ 620. 620 1st Ave. South. St Petersburg. Opens 6:30-8:30 Thursday, Feb 24th.

North Pinellas Photography Forum Open House - Members' exhibit, Classic Florida, Opening with appetizers, donations for drinks. Free. Jewish Community Center Suncoast North, 2075 Sunnydale Blvd, Clearwater, 1-4 PM Sunday.

The Bricks -  Call for Artists - For their April Kick Start My Art exhibit in April. The title for the show will be "It's Hip to Be Square". All art submitted needs to be, you guessed, square. Submissions are due by Feb 28th. E-mail queries to The Bricks, 1327 E. 7th Ave. Ybor City

Natural Fashion: Photos of Art and The Body @ Florida Museum of Photographic Arts - Works by Hans Silvester. See here: [Link]. Through April 10th. 200 N. Tampa St. Downtown Tampa.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Kids Today: 16 yr old rescues Egyptian God Statue from Trash.

A thoughtful Egyptian teenager spotted, rescued and returned one of the finest statues in the history of the country after spotting it in a trashpile. Bravo! The priceless statue of the God Akhenaton was one of the works stolen when the Museum was looted but is now back home, though 18 remain missing, and 72 are damaged. The Egyptian Museum has reopened.

Source: [Link]

Artsist Behaving Very, Very BADLY: Voina on the Loose in Russia

A huge penis painted on a major city bridge. Overturning seven police cars. The mock execution of migrant workers in a Moscow supermarket. An impromptu rock concert performance laced with baaad words in a Moscow courtroom. Throwing live cats in a McDonalds. Twelve artists, including one pregnant woman, entering the Biology Museum and er...staging an orgy. 

Voina  is a collective of guerrilla performance artists in Russia who have staged these events in Moscow and St. Petersburg. Reportedly, Banksy is a fan. Two of the group had their flat raided SWAT style, and were taken for a 'ride', being abused by the police. They've been held in jail since November. Russia is considering a return to Soviet-Era censorship of the arts. I imagine Russian oligarchs are scrambling, wondering where they can buy signed photos/videos of Voina at work.

Source: [Link]

Rep. Raecker, R-Urbandale, ceases and desists: The University of Iowa Gets to Keep its Pollock.

Rep. Scott Raecker introduced a bill to force the University of Iowa to sell its magnificent Jackson Pollock, "Mural", to help trim the state budget. The painting, considered by many connoisseurs to be the finest American painting ever made, was donated by Peggy Guggenheim to the school in 1951, is now valued at $150,000,000 USD. The state Governor, Terry Branstad has spoken out against the idea, as have prominent philanthropists to the University. I am relieved to see that this cultural treasure and source of Iowan pride and identity will get to remain in its present home -- for now.

An image of the painting and article from The Smithsonian: [Link]

My source: [Link].

Sunday, February 20, 2011

A Short & Bumpy Trajectory: Andres Monzon @ The Collective

"We arrived with nothing" --- Luz Estrella Ortiz, the artist's mother, talking about arriving from Medellin, Colombia to Miami with her family. It may have been true for the material things, but she arrived with plenty. Her profession as an entomologist, and hers and her son's artistry.

When we first spoke at the show's opening, I mentioned that in some of the works there seemed to be a veiling. He grinned and said "yes".

Andres Monzon was taught by his painter mother, as she was by her mother. That's quite a trajectory, three generations. He began, like most children, by doing free-form drawings, but his mother soon enrolled him into a ceramics class.

The artist is a handsome, energized, passionate twenty-three year old. Boyish, yet older than his years. The pieces in this show are part of what he calls "The Veiling Project". He talks about the object, symbolic, iconic objects and people, and its pall. The veils are a kind of nail-polish purple, a living, permeable membrane. He says they relate to memory and loss, nostalgia and fear of rejection of one's past.

The works can be seen here: [Link]

Look at "Celia", a picture that looks like it was taken from a video frame of the divine Celia Cruz, seen onstage from behind. Her figure is clad in the purple. She casts a shadow on each side of her, forming a triad, or past-present-future continuum. In the background, before her, a curtain. Has she already performed, and is
 walking offstage, or is she waiting for the curtain to open? It's the sweetly ambiguous nervous boundary layer between acceptance and rejection, the stage fright we have all known at one time or another. In this case, the purple lifts Celia from the gray matter surrounding her. She is almost floating above the surface of the oil painting.

Click on the "Self-Portrait after Durer".  It is based on this one [Link], wherein Durer envisioned himself in all his glory, in a Christ-like persona: The Artist as Redeemer. Note the differences between the two. Andres is not dressed in the finery Durer was. He is not as confident or fully formed. His tie with the past is more formal here, the veil, in the viewer's mind.

"Casa Gutierrez" is directly linked to the artist. It has been the family home for generations, and they are trying to save this icon of their past, perhaps as a museum.

The "Portrait of Aileen de Lima" is literally veiled. The drape partially over it is part of the work, sometimes completely over it, others, almost 100% off. The viewer, as with everything else in life, sees whatever is being revealed at the moment, the rest is left to his imagination. Ms. de Lima remains somewhere in between.

Andres' trajectory and presence lengthens with this strong show, which can be seen at The Collective (aka Collective Gallery and Workspace), at 601 Central Ave, St Petersburg. Tue. - Sun, 12 noon to 8PM.

--- Luis 

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Artists Behaving Badly: Caravaggio

Caravaggio, artist/rock star of his day, was also a B-A-D Boy. He carried weapons without permits. Brutalized a waiter for serving him artichokes (???). Engaged in assault(s). Threw stones at the cops. And more, bragging that he had the church's favor, therefore immunity.

Read the entire story and rap sheet at the source, here [Link].

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Personal Note: Last Night @ Borders Cafe on Dale Mabry

What's this cafe tucked into a Borders have to do with AT? This is the place many of the posts you see here were typed from. The coffee is great, but that's not why I came here to write, or my wife, friends and I gathered, often to play Scrabble. Merl Reagle, the world-famous designer of the NYT crossword puzzles, and all-around nice guy used to come here on a weekly basis for olympic caliber Boggle games.

And it ends tonight. I am sitting here, at my favorite table, teary-eyed & still in shock. I understand about profits, the economy, and everything else, but my favorite sanctuary is coming to a close. And what really matters, the incredible baristas and friends of mine who work here, will be scattered like seeds in the wind. Danielle, Kim, Kristen, Maria, Tiffany and Chris, an incredibly creative, bright and beautiful group of women, all underemployed, will go on to much better things, and hopefully keep in touch, but it will never be the same. I know, I know, nothing lasts, and this scene is playing itself out in thousands of places throughout America, but I experienced what transpired here, and it was extraordinary. I will remember this.

--- Luis

* If anyone knows of an available job, particularly at a cafe or bar, please contact me through the blog. I can recommend these women without reservation.

This Weekend: Feb 18th - 20th

Degradated Shadows, Mike Conway @ Salt Creek - Mike is showing a year's worth of work at this exhibit. Interesting multimedia work, some of which I've had the privilege of seeing already. Opening on Saturday, Feb 19th, 6-9 PM, runs through March 11th. 1600 Fourth St. South, St. Petersburg.

Art on Central Ave. St Petersburg - More than forty artists will be live painting on Central Ave.'s 600 block. Saturday, Feb 19th, from 11AM to 6 PM. AT is looking forward to this one. Free.

Art After Dark @ Tampa Museum of Art - Monthly event has become a popular mixer with the Tampa Community. This time it's the Phillip Booth Quartet in collaboration with thee Ybor Jazz Festival. $10, free to Museum Members. Tampa Museum of Art, 120 Gasparilla Plaza. Friday, Feb 18th. 8-11 PM.

Dunedin Craft Festival - Massive craft Festival on Downtown Dunedin's picturesque Main St. Feb 19th and 20th, Sat and Sun, from 10 AM to 5 PM. Free.

Figurative Exploration @ Cafe Bohemia - One of my favorite hangouts, Cafe Bohemia, is showing Felicia Stamp, Isabella Samneny and Heather Linton. Thursday, Feb 17th to March 11th. 937 Central Ave.  Saint Petersburg. Be sure to treat yourself to the excellent coffees, beer, sandwiches and particularly, the falafels (best in Bay).

Visions of Nature - Environmental Film Festival @ Eckerd College - Unusual chance to see Environmentally-themed movies. They will be shown at Miller Auditorium at Eckerd College, at 7:00 PM except for 2 PM on Sunday. 4200 54th ave.S. St Petersburg. Free.

Tampa Lights Up: Lights on Tampa - Every two years Tampa puts on a light show, shining light on its architecture. It all happens around Curtis Hixon Park. There will be light shows on ten buildings. At Riverside, there will be the Portal to the Arts, a metal structure with three large screens showing artists' videos. I hope they'll have maps to guide people around. Starts @ 5:30 at Curtis Hixon Park on Ashley Dr. Downtown Tampa.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Ai Weiwei's Sunflower Seeds Installation sells for $559,000 USD

Ai Weiwei's "Sunflower Seeds" installation, shown at the Tate, sold at Sotheby's for nearly $560,000 USD. The installation, which consisted of 100,000 hand-painted ceramic sunflower seedsm weighting 220 lbs, sold for about $5.60/seed.

Reportedly four bidders went at it until the winning bid. The seeds were reported to be releasing a lot of ceramic dust and the paint contained lead.

Source: [Link]

Monday, February 14, 2011

Artists Choose Artists @ Rob Davidson Fine Arts

On January 22, the opening for Artists Choose Artists, a show based on the theme of established artists choosing emerging artists to be in the show, which was curated by Paula Allen, aka "Polly Zoom", took place at Rob Davidson Fine Arts, a combination gallery/exhibit space, retail artspace, photo-print shop and frame shop. Here's some highlights.

Gulfport-based Nancy Cervenka makes film-based sculptures, for which she is well-known and revered by her peers and several galleries here and elsewhere. Nancy began doing these works (she also photographs and does videos, is a martial artist, I hear, and more...) while getting her MFA in film in the late 70's or early 80's at USF. She spirals the strips of film, gluing them into form. Use a magnifying glass and lots of images are revealed in the work, which has its own inner sense of time (24 fps). Light can be projected unto and through the film, with interesting secondary effects produced. 

Nancy won Best-in-Show with a dress sculpture called "Wearable Art". See here. Here are some images from other works [click], [click].

Nancy's work is in the collections of Peter Fonda, Shirley Mac Laine, Time Warner, Ismael Merchant, Todd Soldonz, and many others.

Kylyn Cervenka, Nancy's niece, is an emerging ceramic artist who has been studying under [get name]. In the single work shown under the name "Familial Convergence",  their strengths synergize into one work. The bottom 2/3rds of the work are composed of perhaps a dozen of Nancy's film spires that go into holes in a ceramic bowl made by Kylyn sitting sideways, 'piercing' through some of these holes. This collaboration results in a synthesis of two minds. The work is unlike any other done by Nancy, and a great start for Kylyn, whose contribution was beautifully designed and executed.

Diana Leavengood showed "Djupalonssandur Beetle"  , a doubly exposed photograph on one negative type C print. It's the engine bay of a VW Bug with the hood up and another exposure of rocks over it. The effect is greater than the sum of its parts. A little disorienting until one stops imposing their visual demands/ecxpectations and yields to the photographer's vision. Ms. Leavengood chose Mandie Porcelli, who also brought a double exposure, hers of the Pier and out-of focus lights. The effect is to make the Pier appear to be lifting off.


Rebecca Skelton, with whom I spoke lat night at the Art Lofts,  had an exquisite drawing titled "Freed"
, of a woman in an introspective moment of realization. Her choice was Samantha Spalholz, who brought "Elements",  an interesting work on paper with burnt holes in it, consisting of charcoal, thread, water, acrylics and fire.

Rose Marie Prins' contemplative work, "Captivity", is a narrative about the tension between inaction in the sense of imprisonment and action (escape). To view this multimedia work, Ms. Prims encourages the viewer to don a pair of archival cotton gloves and unfold the work, freeing it from a box that resembles a pirate's chest. This action recreates the artist's own captivity and escape. She skillfully blends the poetry and history of previous women to create her personal metaphor. The poem's calligraphy is accompanied by her renderings of a woman, centuries ago held captive by Native American Indians, her thoughts and feelings about her ordeal, and final release. Like an accordion-type book, you unfold the mystery in time, and it ends where it begins, with the box, which is lined with a luxurious fabric, implying a gilded cage. This brings the viewer to the moment of transcendence, where the treasure chest is transformed symbolically into Pandora's box, whose emptiness implies the hopes of new beginnings by dwelling not on self-imprisonment, but self-empowerment.

[The above review was written by AT sometime correspondent, Lydia G.]

  She partnered with Matthew Hawkins, whose "Fraelissa",  an oil painting, a long, vertical oil painting of a white tree's outline on a background divided into blue and red with veining running through it was simply beautiful.

Polly Zoom, aka Paula Allen, brought one large work , divided into quadrants, and four small works, ""Polly Zoom" one through four. Mixed media works in her upbeat, feel-good, quasi-Russian style. She chose Clint Thomas, who is the printer at Rob Davidson Fine Arts. He showed three works. Two spidery abstracts playing heavily with symmetry and positive/negative space, looking like skeletonized cathedral ceilings, "Cigar City Power" & "Positively 4th Street"  and one titled "Stars" (of which I happen to own a variant).

 The show can be seen at:

Robert Davidson Fine Arts (727) 827-1888
1100 1st Ave N, St Petersburg, FL 33705

--- Luis

Friday, February 11, 2011

Male with Hairy Legs Wearing Shorts in Drawing Class? Scandalous!

[Rey, Iran] A male model who pulled his pants up into "shorts" and sporting really hairy legs in a drawing class full of women artists has been deemed a "cultural scandal" by the conservative site Reyonline [Link]. The site is calling for authorities to deal with this "cultural carelessness.

Source and pictures: [Link]

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Chrysler, Eminem, Detroit and its Art: This is who we are.

I missed the Superbowl (again) this year, but just saw this commercial, first shown there. Detroit, bedeviled by a multitude of miseries, and drowning in romanticized garbage like "ruin porn", is desperately trying to rise from the ashes. In this ad, what caught my eye is how Chrysler and Detroit, in their darkest moment, reached out for what was true: Its Art (love those WPA murals and the sculptures), artists, architecture and its people to stand up and say this is who we are. This is a commercial for Art as much as it is for Chrysler or Detroit. Bravo!

Click here: [Link]

--- Luis

Personal Icons @ Mindy Solomon Gallery Extended

The Personal Icons show reviewed here a few weeks ago, will be extended until March 6th. Mindy is going to the SCOPE show in NY, and if you're going to be there between March 2-6th, email the gallery for free passes to SCOPE here [Link]. Check with the site also for the hours the gallery will be open.
Mindy Solomon 124 2nd Ave. NE St Petersburg, FL 33701. 727.502.0850

This Fair Weekend: Feb 11th - 13th

The Muse and Body Art Show @ Artpool - Marina Williams puts on one of her most-beloved parties of the year celebrating Love, Lust, Sex, turning her artspace into Cupid's archery range.


For a clue as to what it may be like check [Link].

Saturday, Feb 12th, 919 First Ave N. St Petersburg. 727.324.3878. Admission: $20 at the door, $15 before that.

Ybor Art Colony Open House - Eleven artists open their hearts and studios to the public on Seventh Avenue above the King Corona store. Fashion, sculpture, paintings, jewelry and more in several distinct styles done by accessible, delightful artists who will be doing demonstrations. Saturday, Feb 12th, @ 5-9PM.
1521 1/2 Seventh Ave., Ybor City/Tampa. Free.
Check here [Link]

Dali Look-Alike Contest/Event - Be surreal, dress up in Dali-drag and get into the new Museum free. Win the contest and get a year's membership and get featured in a Musum ad. Or, you can enter via video, oops, you vould have entered via video. That is now closed. So, slick your hair back, eyebrow pencil-in a moustache and go. Friday, Feb 11th, 6-9 PM, $10.00 admission for the non-costumed non-members.
One Dali Blvd, St Petersburg. 727.823.3767

Don't Break My Art @ Florida Craftsmen Gallery Art Lofts- Find a Valentine's Day gift at the Lofts, and meet the artists, whose studios will be open. Saturday, February 12th, through the 28th.
10 Fifth St. N, St. Petersburg. Free.

Art of Pastel, an evening with Barry Rothstein @ Art on Central Gallery - This nationally shown and published artist will be present at the opening of his show. Opens Saturday, February 12th, 5:30-9:30 PM, (AT wine & cheese alert!)   645 Central Ave. St. Petersburg. Through Feb 19th. 727.320.7245. Free.

Art from The Heart @ Creative Clay - Multi-media exhibition at Creative Clay. Opens Saturday, Feb 12th., 5-8 PM, runs through March 24th.  1124 Central Ave., St. Petersburg. Free.

St Petersburg Downtown Art Walk - Several of the area's finest galleries participate in this monthly event. Saturday, Feb 12th, starts at 5:30 PM. Go here [Link] and print yourself a map.  Free.

Art Jam (Live Art) @ Jollimon's Grill - Live music and live painting, the results of which will be auctioned off at the end of the evening in a silent auction. Other works shown and for sale. Jollimon's Grill I, 941 Huntley Ave. Dunedin. 727.735.0498. 5 PM Saturday, Feb 12th. Free.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Nearly .5 million Historical Mexican Photographs Going On-Line

Half of all the photographs archived in the INAH library in Mexico are going on-line. These are images from the most important collections in Mexico, and a great cultural treasure trove. I just checked, and they aren't accessible, but should be at any moment here [Click].

At last: Individual Attribution for Native American Artists.

In most museums, art by Native American Artists has been displayed with tags indicating only the tribe that the artist was from, not the name (when known) of the artist. The Denver Art Museum is changing this practice by now attributing the work to the individuals who made it. Labels matter.

The curator of the pieces, Nancy Blomberg said: "I want to signal that there are artists on the floor".

So far, she has been able to trace 1/6th of the artists to the works in the collection.

Source: [Link]

Texas Poised to "Defund" (Kill) Texas Commission on The Arts

The dominoes keep falling across the nation. This time it is Texas Governor Rick Perry, in his State of The State Speech, calling for the "Defunding" (talk about sickening euphemisms!) of the Texas Commission on the Arts,
[Link] and the Texas Historical Commission [Link], an agency which enforces preservation statutes and upkeeps 12,000 historical markers throughout the state that help Texans and tourists to find and interpret historical sites. This agency dared to disagree with Guv' Perry's wife regarding an addition to the Governor's, and now they're paying for it.


Another One Bites The Dust: Kansas Abolishes Art Commission

Kansas Governor Sam Brownback, facing a .5 billion budget shortfall, has decided to abolish the Kansas Arts Commission with a private non-profit, run by nine citizens. This will reduce the deficit by a whopping .0012. As of July 1st, the Commission will no longer be the channel through which state and federal grants go to arts organizations. The State will devote $200,000 to support for the new private non-profit.

Governor Brownback said: "Let's do all we can to protect the core functions of government."

Source: [Link]

Friday, February 4, 2011

Want to Break Out of The Box? Better Ideas Through Electricity.

I can see it now...The Electric Cafe. Trans Cranial Direct Current Stimulation, a process where safe and non-invasive small currents are sent through electrodes in the scalp to the brain. No, nothing like Frankenstein. This study [Click] showed that TCDCS to the right anterior lobe significantly improved creative problem-solving.

--- Luis

Sacrosanct @ West Tampa Center for The Arts Gallery

 The West Tampa Center for The Arts Gallery (WTCA), located at 1906 N. Armenia Ave, Tampa, is in a charming industrial building from 1904, the old Santaella Cigar Factory.  The cigars were among Winston Churchill's and Babe Ruth's favorites. The building's owners, the Ellis and Van Pelt families, operate their business from the lower floors, and in a rare and visionary move, divided the upper floors into artists' studios, creating this great community cultural asset.

The theme of this exhibit, which opened on January 21st, was "Sacrosanct", works that are above change, interference, or criticism (what a dare!). I won't comment on that, but here's a few highlights...

Jane Balden Palmer's naturally themed, eco-conscious "The Earth Unwinding" and "Sacrilege", beautiful etheral, almost surreal watercolors, the former very graphic, the second more realistic and a bit apocalyptic?

Work here [Click]

Gabriella Banet  exhibited three works, similar to this one, with very dark, mysterious, inky images with subtle tonalities and once the viewer settles into them, one notices faces/or figures emergent in them. My favorite was Rise Above The Rain, I.

Taylot Pilote's Poor Estimation, III, a gleaming black steel and Urethane sculpture, composed of basically a sideways-"U" shaped structure, with forms of 55-gallon oil drums "floating" on the black mirror-like surface. One of the best artworks related to the oil spill I've seen to date. See here.

David Gabbard, a recent graduate of USF, had "Bat-Mite" and "Little Patriot", acrylic prints on canvas of collaged photographs of a child dressed up as a super-hero on a comic-book background. At first overwhelming color and composition-wise, they yield observations on the world children face in fantasy and later as adults. See here.

Nicole Abbett, a photographer of note whom I've talked with before at an earlier show at the WTAC, also a USF grad from Boston, had gorgeous, jewel-like, nearly abstract color prints like this one, accompanied by intimate, diary-like narrative titles, in this case: You and I Watching The Sunrise. I'm glad to see she hasn't left for Boston yet.

Leslie Elsasser, a Ringling Lecturer, had several  works in hand ground pigments, gouache, etc. expertly executed on hand-made paper. Some were based on Indian (from India) motifs and/or myths.

Frank Bolock's hand-ground pigment, gouache & watercolor, Sunny Day Laundromat, was a stand-out at this show.

There were many artists' studios open, though I missed Stephen Holms'....I enjoyed talking with Anna Vazquez in her studio and her fascinating jewelry. See here.

The WTCA is putting on great shows. "Sacrosanct" was their best yet.

--- Luis

Sacrosanct @ West Tampa Center for The Arts Gallery -

Thursday, February 3, 2011

This Weekend: Feb. 4th-6th, 2011

 I Remember Birmingham @ Museum of Fine Arts - Yes, they have the excellent Romantics to Moderns: British Watercolors and Drawings from the BNY Mellon collection. Upstairs, I think the Latin American Drawings from the MFA Collection. But John Scott's I Remember Birmingham took my breath away. Make time for this exhibit. It's in tune with history and the present, and the work nothing short of stunning. MFA,  open every day, 10 AM - 5 PM, Sundays, Noon to 5 PM. Admission: $17.00
 Fashion and Arts Week @ Clearwater Design Co-Op - Friday, Feb 4th, it's Film, Fashion and Food Night. Fashion at downtown boutiques at 5 PM, and at 7:00 PM, for $8, a series of short movie clips will be shown, hosted by none other than the Sundance Film Festival. After the screening, one can mix with actors, directors, etc. at Tony's Pizzeria 428 Cleveland St. Clearwater. Free.

Saturday, Feb 5th, from 11 AM to 10 PM, The Performance Arts Festival starts with dance performances in Station Square Park. At 7 PM the Guilfoil Theater Ballet performs at the Capitol Theater ($30 admission).

Sunday, Feb 6th, 11 AM - 4 PM, there will be an plein air art show at Station Square Park.

Ben Hamburger @ Studio @ 620 - Last weekend for this show. I haven't had a chance to get out to see this one, but it's gathering praise from the Times' Bennett. Closing reception Friday, Feb 4th, 6-9 PM. Free. Exhibit closes on Tuesday, Feb 8th. 620 1st Ave S. St Petersburg. Gallery hrs noon-4 PM Tuesday through Saturday.

Art On The House: Free Tampa Museum Night  - Remember, the Tampa Museum of Art (TMA) is now free on Friday Feb 4th, from 4-8 PM. TMA, 120 Gasparilla Plaza, Tampa Florida. See American Modernists and the Photo-Realism show.

Gulfport Art Walk - 60 sidewalk artists and crafters make for a pleasant evening in a beautiful small beach town setting. Free. Gulfport main drag, 6-8 PM Friday, Feb 4th.

Michael Delgado @ Ybor HCC Campus - Outsider paintings by the artist, at the Ybor City HCC Art Gallery, Opens today, Thursday Feb 3rd, from 5;30-8 PM. Artist talks at 7 PM. 14th Street and Palm Avenue, Ybor City (Tampa). Free.

Perception and Memory @ Clayton Galleries - Six artists explore the theme in various media. Opens 7-9 PM Friday, Feb 4th. Runs through March 18th. Free. 4105 S. Mc Dill Tampa. Call 813.831.3753 for hours.

Subway Series @ Kahwah Cafe South - At one of my favorite cafes (though my favorite Baristas  -- bar none -- are the ones at the Borders on Cypress & Dale Mabry)  painter Andrea Pawlisz' 1st solo show. Free. Opens Saturday Feb 5th, from 7-9 PM. 204 2nd Avenue South. St Petersburg.

--- Luis

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Google's Art Project

Confession time: I'm not entirely enamoured with Google. Having said that, their new Art Project is a marvelous way to explore the world's greatest art museums and their works in detail, from high rez files. You can also compile your own favorites and start discussions on the work. This looks very interesting, and a good thing for many who wish to expand their knowledge of art, take the Walter Mitty Tour, or want a sneak preview before considering going there in person. No matter what, this is a great idea. Enjoy.  [Click].

...and if you find things to your liking, let us know....

--- Luis