Friday, June 28, 2013

Material Inspiration: Gareth Mason @ Mindy Solomon Gallery.

The inescapable relevance of materials is one of the great issues of art. Materials, in turn, are related to craft and skills. Many artists have railed against this material boundary, on and off, for a long time. Others take alternate approaches, all between stark conceptualism and, say, something like the skilled, over the superb, over the top Baroque work of Giovanni Lorenzo Bernini.

      [All work shown is by Gareth Mason]

Gareth Mason is addressing this in his own way, by utilizing the materials, intentionally infusing them with an ontological narrative about the work. This also involves conceptual issues, including much questioning of the signifiers of ceramic work. During our personal talk, and later in his gallery talk, Mason mentions that he consciously and deliberately kept the traditional (going back to the earliest ceramics) form of the jar. The earliest jars were functional, of course, and derived from woven baskets which preceded them.

Mason is using that form as a kind of baseline upon which he explores, questions, and states issues within the medium. The results are dependent on viewing distance. From afar, they look almost "normal" and as one approaches them, they configure themselves into the complex objects they are. Sometimes self-contradictory, others synergizing, the viewer's expectations of  what ceramics look like are challenged. These things may be perceived as a kind of dissonance at first, then as they sink in, immediately prompt one's mind not only into accepting the work, but opening up to others like it, and to thinking of ceramics in general in a plurality of ways.

Congratulations to the Gareth Mason and Mindy Solomon for a good show.

Jennifer Kosharek (L.) and Mindy Solomon (R.)
Above, Mindy Solomon and Jennifer Kosharek, two of the top gallerists in the City of Saint Petersburg.

Seen: Political Collage

Odd things happen on my beat as an arts blogger, many that cannot be told here. A friend alerted me that he had seen this political collage by an artist that wanted to remain anonymous. An appointment was made and here are a few pictures from that showing...

The work is about 2.5 x 6.5 ft, paper collaged onto cardboard, and yes, it is for sale. If interested, let me know. The artist wants to retain anonymity.



The artist is a member of Anonymous.

Special note of thanks to the artist and to N. for bringing this to my attention.

--- Luis

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Seen: Wandering Eye Gallery Opening

The Wandering Eye Gallery in Ybor City opened on June 7th at 1527 7th Ave. This Gallery is an artists' cooperative in the sense that members pool their money to share the burden of overhead costs. This is not an uncommon practice, particularly during trying economic times. Some galleries do this in other forms. It has its pitfalls, but brings new spaces into being and helps others stay open. I believe most of the artists in Wandering Eye are from the YAA, now being run by Princess Simpson Rashid.

On the left, "Boiling Point", by Warren Carrico Gibson, one of several works by him in this show. These wooden, painted mixed media works have a totemic/ tribal quality to them, and strong emotional content.

 Sharon Carlstedt Britton gave me generous amounts of time and attention as she showed me around the gallery.

Ms. Carlstedt Britton had several abstracts in the show. This one, titled "transfer motion", radiated energy and organic sensuousness, in apparent waves.

 Clyde McLaughlin had several works in the show. on the left he is shown with his painted partition,
On the right is his work titled "Delirium", an abstract painting involving a passionate red in three levels. With energy spilling out cooling into yellows.

Opening night gallery goers.

Peter Malamoutsis, "Jupiter"

Peter Malamoutsis had several beautiful small glass works in the show, including "Jupiter", above.

The aptly named Princess Simpson Rashid posing in front of one of her abstract paintings. She is the head of the YAA. This gallery brings work by YAA artists to the ground level on Seventh Avenue in Ybor City, giving them much needed higher visibility.

Congratulations to all the artists, Wandering Eye Gallery, and the YAA for a good show.

--- Luis


Call For Artists: Venture Compound's Ultraviolence

The title should be a hint. If you are repelled/offended/nauseated by gratuitous violence, read no further. This is straight from the Venture Compound, just as received. The suggested points of reference paragraph is a least there's no entry fee.


Hi all!  This is just a quick announcement to spread the word about our open call for artists for our upcoming show, on the theme of ULTRAVIOLENCE.  Please help spread it around! The listing is on Craigslist here:

And reads as follows:
The Venture Compound calls all thoughtful deviant gorehounds to submit work for our next awful show of scandalous exploitation. The theme is "ULTRAVIOLENCE".

All of our themes are completely open to interpretation, but there is a definite "Venture Aesthetic." If you're not familiar with what we do or the kind of artists we work with, you should definitely spend some time going back through archives, probably mostly easily accessible on Facebook at We are focused on young, emerging, and non-commercial art, so if you're still working on your polish and unfamiliar with the ins and outs of the art world, we're here to give you our love and weirdness! If you don't feel like you're ready to submit to a show, YOU SHOULD SUBMIT ANYWAY.

Please send us a note with some brief biographical information about yourself, images of existing work, and some rough idea of what you'd like to do for the show. Email this information to NO LATER THAN JULY 17TH for consideration.

Possible points of reference: 

A Clockwork Orange; super gory anime scenes; a surgery show on television; an art piece made of car crashes; a building exploding; airplane crashing; school campus being shot up; a gazelle being torn to pieces by lions; A Nightmare on Elm Street; a nuclear bomb; the holocaust; ultimate fighting championships; monster truck smash 'em ups; video game killing sprees; Genghis Khan; Vikings; Dessert Storm; Mexican wrestling, Heavy Metal explosions, the scary parts of the bible, Arnold Schwarzenegger movies; the conquest of America; dolphin gang rape; suicide; the French revolution; spontaneous human combustion; kamikaze attack; or a mother murdering her children.

Note: Any serious proposals on the theme of dolphin gang rape will be IMMEDIATELY accepted.

Please send all materials and inquiries to!


David Z. Morris
Director of Communications
The Venture Compound

Creative Loafing relents and accepts ARTicles/Figure Ad.

Breaking News...Creative Loafing has reconsidered and is now going to be running the ad for ARTicles. What a difference a day and many posts on FB make. The lesson here is to speak out! and to keep the door open to reconsider an make things right.

Congratulations to ARTicles and Creative Loafing!

--- Luis

Venture Compound indiegogo fundraiser.

(From the stygian bowels of the Venture Compound...)

Hello media types, friends, and countrymen!  The Venture Compound, St. Peteresburg, FL's home for all things weird and beautiful, has been running a fundraiser for 58 and a half days - and NOW IS THE TIME for you to feature our effort on your blog/twitter/local news show!  Because WE ARE KILLING THIS. Our fundraiser has hit $1,120 raised - BUT WE HAVE ONLY 36 HOURS LEFT.

What does our success so far mean for The Venture Compound? Well LEMME TELL YOU:

Gallery Lighting: FUNDED. – We love art, but sometimes our gallery doesn't. We will now have proper gallery lighting so we can showcase the greatness of our artists.

Remaining Fire Code Needs: FUNDED. – We can buy an emergency exit door, updated emergency lighting, and fire extinguishers. Yay for not dying!

Backyard Prettification: FUNDED. – We know you love our pallets and broken plastic chairs. But how about some hand-built wood benches, tables, and maybe even outdoor lighting? How about some garden boxes? How about a FUCKING JUNGLE GYM? NOW THEY'RE COMING. Well, we'll give the jungle gym a 'maybe.'

Venture Compound Sign Hanging Committee : FUNDED. – Now we can afford to hang the awesome sign Jim built!


What We Can Do If We Hit $1400:
TV Mountain Historical Landmark Rescue Plan. 
TV Mountain needs to be rewired and engineered for endurance so we can all continue to enjoy 15-channel, quadruple-track old-movie marathons in shuddering monochrome. This would involve cleaning up the wiring and building new shelves so we don’t die when a 35” Samsung from 1989 falls from the top row.
Check out more info on TV Mountain HERE:

What We Can Do If We Hit $2,000:
Sound Enhancements: It might not cover our entire wishlist, but a couple hundred could let us make some real upgrades to what you hear. Believe it or not, The Venture Compound has been using BORROWED SPEAKERS for over a year. We'd really love to have something to call our own. We'd also like to get our hands on a recording unit for RECORDING LIVE BANDS - recordings that would be released to YOU, the public.

Please contact me via email or directly at (813) 394-6568 with any questions or inquiries.  We Love You!

David Z. Morris
Director of Communications
Pangaea Project Inc./ The Venture Compound

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Filter/Border, an Instagram Exhibition at Creative Loafing Space/Tempus

The call for this show can be found here [Link]. CL/Tempus is charging a la rent-a-wall, $20 for the first work, and $5 for subsequent entries from the same artist, plus... 40% commission. It is easy to understand the desperation many local galleries are facing, given the current economy. Creative Loafing is not one of them.

I have refused to review rent-a-wall galleries from the beginning, since they are essentially cattle calls for art, resulting in disjointed agglutinations of disparate work. Most rent-a-walls, like ARTpool, charge per work, then zero commission. In this case, specially for that first work, the artist is being charged for both.

--- Luis

Monday, June 24, 2013

Banned on CL: Ad for Figure Art Show @ Articles.

The ad on the left, created for the Figure show at Leslie Curran's ARTicles gallery, was refused by Creative Loafing, where the line is reportedly drawn at the anal cleft, AKA buttcrack.

This should be a strong show, what with work by Steven Kenny and Rebecca Skelton. 


Breaking News...Creative Loafing has reconsidered and is now going to be running the ad for ARTicles. What a difference a day and many posts on FB makes. The lesson here is to speak out! and to keep the door open to reconsider an make things right.

Congratulations to ARTicles and Creative Loafing!

--- Luis

Seen: Just Another Smart Phone: Khalid Hamid @ Kahwa Element

Khalid Hamid is a well-known street photographer in Saint Petersburg, with a strong photographic presence on Facebook. He has a show at the Kahwa Cafe in the Element building in downtown Tampa.

About a month ago, I sat with Khalid at the assembly point for the anti-Monsanto march in St. Pete. We spoke briefly, and he took my picture with his little FujiX100.

Khalid is an eclectic photographer, doing everything from classic street photography to scenics. The photographs in ths exhibit were all made using his iphone.

                                    Congratulations to Khalid and Kahwa for a good show.

--- Luis

This Week, June 24th - 30th

Last Saturday I had one of those nights when it seems as if you're watching yourself in a movie. Make mine a 1940's noir, minus the glamor.


Tuesday, June 25th 2013
6:30-9:00 PM

Open Figure Drawing @ Softwater Studios -
Every Tuesday! $7 Model Fee
Open Figure Drawing session at “Soft Water Studios” in the Warehouse Arts District. There will be a series of warm-up poses as well as 5, 10, and 20 minute poses by a partially draped or undraped model. Bring your own mediums and paper. 2D or 3D are both welcome. We have several Drawing Benches and tables or bring your own easel.

515 22nd Street South, Saint Petersburg, Florida

Thursday, June 27th, 2013 8:30 PM

 Sketching With The Subconscious - Sketching from the subconscious is a great way to get in touch with the inner you. We all possess all the knowledge and truth inside of ourselves to accomplish any task or solve any problem. In this hour long meetup group you will be able to set an intention for the session and be given the tools to relax and give your subconscious a chance to speak through you as you sketch or drawn on paper. The hour will be divided into three parts, a guided mediation, free form drawing or sketching and free thought writing. Whether you have a specific issue on your mind you want to get some insight on or you simply want to connect to the inner spirit, sketching and writing are great ways to express and possibly learn something new about yourself too. All materials will be provided.

Please confirm your attendance so we bring enough chairs :)
at Ashi by Pilar Studio


Saturday, June 29th, 2013
Can't do it Concert @ Robot House -


THE GREAT REPRESSION - Massachusetts Sad Punk (Aaron Hibbert & the joe band)
For Fans of Make Do and Mend, La Dispute, and anything Hopeless/Topshelf Records puts out
- Hibby returns to the Bay area again and this time on a SATURDAY (finally). Like I've said time and time before, Aaron is an amazing songwriter and musician. This tour he's coming with a band primarily made of Joe's so it'll be super easy to remember everyone's name. Prepare for some solid jams.

MARLONEISHA - New Jersey Progressive/Melodic Hardcore with members of The Best of the Worst (aka Joe Scala)
For fans of melodic hardcore with chuggs and headbanging. Lots of headbanging with some pretty parts. It's one of those things you kind have to see to really fall in love with. Kinda like the mountains or Grand Canyon.
- JOE SCALA DOING DOUBLE DUTY. He's bringing one of his other bands from the land of fist pumps and 76ers (That's Jersey for you uncultured folk). Check the bandcamp and get into it. It's gonna get heavy. Nate's gonna mosh if he decides to not pose and show up.

GOUGE AWAY - South Florida Hardcore Punk
For fans of Refused, Punch (kinda. They aren't as hard and fast as them, but the vocals remind me of them)
- SOUTH FL REPRESENT. Heavy eclectic and chaotic hardcore punk. Makes me wanna get up and move around. You may see me in the pit. MAYBE. Either way, you should check this band out because if they keep it up they can be a major staple in Florida.

CAN'T DO IT - St. Pete Ska/Punk
This band is still around? Jesus. For fans of Rude Squad, I guess. That and Matt Rooney, but he's pretty whatever in my book. For fans of Jon Jones. (lol yuck.) but for real, for fans of 3rd wave. I can't say what band they sound like because they really just sound like Can't Do It. I'll stop now. Check them out.
- Matt Welch (aka: Fresno Bob aka Hugh G. Rection, aka MC WLCH) once called this band "Tampa's Devo" and "Ska Nerds" and he was pretty much right. Erratic, busy ska punk fronted by a guy that my cousin said sounded like Mandark from Dexter's Lab. If you've been in the ska scene for a while and haven't seen or heard of can't do it then you aren't talking to the right people. Local legends. Josh was on the cover of the tbt*. Google it.

MADISON TURNER - Tampa acoustic with backing band Folk/Ska/Punk
For fans of Andrew Jackson Jihad, Matt Wixson's Flying Circus, and Paranoia Dance Party's members, because this band sounds nothing like PDP.
- Maddie initially told me she wasn't going to do anymore locals show but LOOK AT HER NOW. She's about to go into the studio with her band of handsome dudes to record a full length album. Tons of new songs. A little ska, mostly singalongable folk punk. I'm gonna have a lot of fun playing these songs. I hope you can attend and experience them for yourself so you can get a taste of what this album is gonna sound like!

@ EPIC PROBLEM(formerly Transitions Art Gallery)
4215 East Columbus Drive
Tampa, FL 33605

Doors: 7pm
Cost: $7


Saturday, June 29th, 8:00 PM
 Venture Compound

2621 Fairfield Ave. S., Saint Petersburg,

LIVE performances by


with a special drag performance by

8pm, $5, ALL ages

(post under construction)


Ruminations on a comment by Danny Olda

I don't think the resolution to this problem is making art more affordable (either by making cheaper art or producing richer people). This tends to lead to a market of artful objects rather than an actual art market.
Rather, perhaps we should be looking at a model for compensating artists for their cultural services independent of selling work, i.e. non-profits, alternative spaces, etc. This allows artists to make quality art unencumbered by the kitchy demands of a second-rate market. Once a consistent pattern of, let's say, Basel-worthy art has been established collectors will come.

 This is more of a condition than a problem, and it is not a new one.  In the case under discussion it has been exacerbated by hype and unreal expectations generated by questionable claims and labels. I do not expect the Bay area average household income to rise anywhere near the national average any time soon. Let's not kid ourselves, money matters -- at all levels of art. Between 2007 and 2011, the estimated (TEFAF figs) for art transactions dropped by 26%.

What is "an actual art market"?  Is creating a bubble isolating artists from their communities and extant markets, however rated, while waiting for Godot (in the form of an art fair or collectors making studio visits, of course) a good idea? How many subsidies, non-profits and alternative spaces would be needed to make this work? For how many artists? How would they be deemed eligible? In many European countries this has been going on for  a long time, with the government in the supporting role.

The current condition is not a problem with a solution. Locally, questionable labels applied like stickers to the area have created surreal expectations. What is an actual art market? There are several models/levels coexisting presently.

Once "Basel-worthy art" is made, collectors will not need to come to the work, the work will come to them at fairs (or the auction houses). This is already happening with Basel satellite show-worthy art being made or brokered in St. Pete, which at least two local gallerists are currently schlepping to the fairs.

 These fairs account for 31% of all art market sales, with 43% from gallery sales, and a mere 10% through the web. The top five percent of galleries account for 70% of gross sales.

I think there is room for a variety of approaches and models.

--- Luis

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Brush Songs @ Saint Paint Gallery

Saint Paint Gallery recently opened a show titled Brush Songs, devoted to art based on music. On the left are two works by Saint Paint owner Derek Donnelly. On the left a portrait of George Clinton, on the right, Janis Joplin.

Zulu Painter, "Don't Stop Believing"

On the left is a painting titled and based on a song that has become a favorite of sports fans, Don't Stop Believing.

Jenipher Chandley, "I want You".

Jenipher Chandley's portrait titled "I want you" could be from a variety of people who've written and sang songs with that title. Either way, it is a beautiful portrait.

Aureilieus Artist, "Two Headed Boy"

Aureilieus Artist showed "Two-headed Boy", after the song by Neutral Milk Hotel. The words on the hair, colors and stitching all make for a strong image.

Congratulations to all the artists, Saint Paint and Derek Donnelly for a good show.

--- Luis

This Weekend, June 21st - 23rd.

Tuesday, June 18th
Figure Drawing @ Soft Water Studios -   Every Tuesday! $7 Model Fee
Open Figure Drawing session at “Soft Water Studios” in the Warehouse Arts District. There will be a series of warm-up poses as well as 5, 10, and 20 minute poses by a partially draped or undraped model. Bring your own mediums and paper. 2D or 3D are both welcome. We have several Drawing Benches and tables or bring your own easel. 

515 22nd Street South, Saint Petersburg,  6:30-9:30 PM

 Tuesday, June 18th
Cult Classics @ The Dali -Pulp Fiction: Cult Classics @ The Dali
June 18, 2013 (Tuesday)
7:00 PM - 10:30 PM

Free admission.

Cult Classic (Noun 'kult 'kla-sik): A movie that keeps getting better with every line of dialogue memorized and every Halloween costume inspiration.

Your hostess: Kori Stevens, Female Impersonator

Grab your lawn chair, put on your bathrobe, grab a $5 milkshake, and get ready to laugh with your favorite anti-heroes! Movie inspired dress is encouraged. Enjoy a cash bar, popcorn and food truck delights. Event presented by the Zodiac Group.

Featured food truck: Hott Mess

Cost: Film is free and open to the public. Event takes place on the museum patio. Doors open at 7pm. Films start at sunset. (Museum will be closed.)

Sponsored by J.J. Taylor

Upcoming cult classics:
Jul 16 - Bill And Ted's Excellent Adventure (PG)
Aug 20 - The Big Lebowski (R)

 1 Dali Boulevard, Saint Petersburg,

Thursday, June 20th
Etsy Craft Party @ St. Pete Shuffleboard, 5-9 pm.
559 Mirror Lake Dr N, Saint Petersburg.

Etsy Craft Party is a celebration of meeting and making, of creativity and community. It’s a time to meet your neighbors and share a creative skill. It’s a time to have fun and party down with your favorite craft supply in hand.

We'll have free DIY demo stations, awesome swag bags for the first 100 through the gates, live music, food trucks, local vendors, Etsy shop owners, raffles benefiting St Pete Shuffle, adult beverages, and tons more!

~ DIY Embroidered and Wooden Craft Badges sponsored by Etsy
~ Upcycled Paper Wall Decor by Tampa Upcycle
~ Make Your Own Leather Bracelet or Cuff by Birdhouse Designs
~ Upcycled Magazine Gift Bags by Sparkle & Pop
~ Learn Vintage Knitting by Cottontail Vintage
~ Hooking for Beginners by Otakraft

*** At 8pm watch a live Torch Fired Enamel demonstration by Barbara Lewis, author and owner of Painting with Fire Studio ***

Destination Grill
American Wiener

Cycle Brewing
The Bends

MUSIC by DJ Mega!

Visit for additional info!


Thursday, June 18th

FMoPA Logo 

Opening Reception for 
Summer Exhibitions
Thursday, June 20th at 6 p.m.

                            Sissi Farassat, Andrea, 2010                                  Edward S. Curtis, Plenty Coups, c. 1908
Sissi Farassat
Edmund D. Fountain
Jim Reynolds

FREE for Members
$10 for Not-Yet Members

 Saturday, June 22nd
Art in the Burg
11 AM 5 PM
Jannus Landing
  Art in the Burg will host over 60 artists and vendors who all have something in common, a love for art, an affinity for great food and drinks, and a need to get together and mingle.

You will be able to make your way throughout the JANNUS complex to all the suites, clubs and restaurants who SUPPORT THE LOCAL ART SCENE in the Tampa Bay Area!

Entry Cost: FREE
Food & Drinks available (for purchase) 5 Restaurants and Bars

Ages: Family & Pet Friendly

Where: JANNUS Live - At the corner of 1st Ave. N. and 2nd St. N., St. Petersburg - 727-821-2120

Venue Questions: Dino Pinto 727-365-6767
Artists & Vendors Questions: Brian Taylor 813-541-5904


Saturday, June 20th
Studio 620 Birthday Party
620 1st St South St Pete

The Studio@620 invites you to celebrate with us as we embark upon our 10th year of creative community programming.

Our annual birthday party is a gathering of folks, enjoying and sharing talents--much like the events we present all year--plus the added thrill of cake!

The evening will feature a variety of performances including music from local favorites The Urban Gypsies, plus a performance by artist in residence Alice Ferrulo and poets from Bryant Cross and you'll be the first to see a collection of artwork from members of The Studio@620.


 Saturday, June 22nd
Pride Prom Party @ Artpool
8:00 PM Till 12 AM.
$10.00 admission online

Celebrate Pride at our LGBT event & dress up in your fav 1980's outfit! Featuring colorful works of art, 80's neon runway show, live music, video art & lots of magical surprises. Prizes for best 80's outfit!

Serving food, wine and over 30 different craft beers.

CALLING ALL ARTISTS - we are seeking colorful, bright and bold works for our gallery art show. Become a part of the celebration and exhibit your masterpieces in our gallery. 100% of all sales go to the artist with no gallery commission.

Want to show your art at the event? Drop off your work by June 18th. Up to 3 works is $30. Each additional work is $10. If a work is 24" or over, it counts as 2 works.

**All wall art must be wired on the back of the frame. All artwork must be labeled on the back with artist name, phone number and email address. All participating artists get into the event for free.

Get your tickets in advance or at the door


[Post still in progress...]


Monday, June 17, 2013

Art and The Laws of Attraction.

We hear about the Arts in St. Pete a lot. Magazine(s) tell us we're #1, and we believe it. Given that, I thought to look on the web to see how the arts fare in the "things to do" in St, Pete in tourist websites.

My first stop was at [Link]

NYTimes' Practical Traveler [Link] Only made it as far as the Dali for art.

St Pete.Org [link] has its 50 fascinating things to do, including an arts section which does mention 2nd Saturday, but if the tourists are here on any other day, there's no DIY tours, and no mention of the 600 Block or the WAD!

Virtual Tourist [Link] has 114 things to do (some in other counties!) but none are about the 600 block, WAD or anything other than the major Arts Museums.

I could go on, and there are several sites that do mention more of the arts scene, but you get the point: Think too locally, and one loses sight that the county brings in almost 8 billion/yr in tourist dollars, and that artists should be grabbing a larger piece of that action. Out of sight is out of mind. In the websites that one can post in, make it known  that the area does have a thriving arts scene. Elsewhere, urge the owners to mention it, or do so in the comments. Let prospective visitors know about you and the things you do and enjoy about this City.If they do not know you exist, your hopes are pinned on random meanderings.

--- Luis

Ps. The point of this article was not just uncovering the invisibility of local arts and artists to prospective tourists/visitors so that artists can share in the 7,800,000,000 that are spene here by out of towners. It was a wake-up call. You can't just sit back and assume someone else is promoting the arts in your city on tourist sites. I discovered no one was, and hadn't been for several years. People are always complaining that everything that can be done is being done, and that money is an insurmountable hurdle. That is partially true, but I spent a couple of days thinking, and unearthed this, and I know there are many more things that I am not seeing that could be done at little or zero cost and a bit of keyboard work to improve things. Find them, and let me know when you do as I tipped you on to this one.

Artists are creatives. Focus that creativity on placing the arts on the map in this city or wherever you live. Most places with an arts district promote it to tourists, complete with detailed instructions and photographs. Offer the webmaster for the site to write it yourself and furnish pictures yourself. 

No one else can take your place. Remember to not just promote yourself, that is short-sighted, because no tourist is going to make a trip to see one place. Be the rising tide that lifts all boats.


Sunday, June 16, 2013

On the TBO article titled: "St. Pete art scene thrives, but market sags."

I was interviewed over the phone for this article. I was quoted correctly, and have no complaints, but would like to address some specific points in the article.

Several times today, I read artists in Facebook complaining that the community "does not support the arts". I often hear about all the ultra-rich that are not buying local art (or art from elsewhere locally). The community does support the arts. Whatever scene exists today is only because community support is there.

While I see a flowering arts scene, as often happens during economic downturns, there is little doubt that it is being trumpeted to high heaven (as it should be) to attract more visitors. St. Pete has a rapidly expanding arts scene, but is it market-driven? A bubble? Sustainable?

The first quantifiable problem is that the average household income for St. Pete and Tampa is about  $9000.00 dollars less than the national average for 2013. This is a significant amount of money, and that part of the budget where money for the arts comes from. I see people drooling over art all the time, many wishing out loud that they could afford it. The only way to fix this from this angle is to enhance economic development for the area. Not just for the 1%-ers. Not an easy problem to solve.

This has to be said, but is it possible that there are integral flaws with the arts models in the area? While many have been attracted by the lower cost per sq ft of the Warehouse Arts District, the fact is that there is very little foot traffic. This is not a problem if one is dealing with corporate sales, or public projects, but for most artists, it is an insurmountable problem, One that 12 2nd Saturdays a year, nor trolleys can fix.

There are many ways that the City can partner with the artists to develop marketing strategies, specially involving going outside the City to sell art. Incrementally, there are many ways to improve things as well. I hear many good ideas being floated around in the paat few weeks.

Is the market too stingy? That's one way to look at it. Another is that the supply of art exceeds demand. We could be in the middle of an art micro-bubble.

--- Luis



Friday, June 14, 2013

Vivian Meier: The Invisible Woman Revealed in 100,000 clicks.

Work by Vivien Meier

Work by Vivien Meier
Vivian Meier, self-portrait.

She worked as a nanny. Meier came from Europe, lived in New York and mostly in Chicago. She wore hats and men's shoes. Eventually, Meier went homeless, was rescued by three of her former wards, and died after a fall on the treacherous Chicago sidewalk ice. Died in anonymity. This would be another Eleanor Rigby story but for one thing: Her consuming passion, to which she devoted her life.

Meier was a street photographer. She saved and bought excellent tools to actualize her vision with, and used them expertly. A solitaire, working in near-total isolation, she spent every spare minute and dollar photographing, and traveling around the world to do so when she could. Including to Florida.
Work by Vivian Meier.

Vivien Maier self-portrait.

As many photographers do, she did many "selfies", self-portraits. We see Vivien, entranced by photography, reflected in mirrors, her shadow projected, over the years, the images telling us "this is who I am". On the left is one of those self-portraits.

Work by Vivien Meier
Her possessions had been placed in storage, amongst them her cameras, negs and prints. One hundred thousand exposures, not much by today's standards, but remember she had to buy film and get it developed on a nanny's income, and only got out to photograph on her days off. In Chicago, she went to Central Camera, one of the oldest camera stores in the United States, to have that done. A few salesmen remembered her coming in to drop off and pick up her film. Having passed away, her belongings lingered in their space, the payments lagged, and the trunks were put up at auction. Two buyers got the majority of them. One, John Maloof, realtor and historian, realized what he had, put a little of it up on the web, got overwhelmingly positive feedback, and went on to do books, films and exhibitions of Meier's work.
Work by Vivien Meier.

Color work by Vivien Maier.
She was not an in-your-face, confrontational type of street photographer. That kind of thing is ballyhooed as being de rigueur by today's internet/forum Kings, but her style was different. Her moment was Insightful, not Decisive. Street photography is one of the niche bastions of masculinity. The male Gaze has been questioned extensively in most forms of art, yet still rules in street photography. This is not to say that there aren't male photographers who have developed other ways of seeing, just far too few. This aesthetic dominates the history of the genre to the point that women are barely represented. Helen Levitt, Zoe Strauss, Diane Arbus, Graciela Iturbide, Mariana Yampolski, Lissette Model (whose influence can be seen in Meier's work), Flo Fox, Martine Franck and others. This is nothing in terms of numbers compared to male street photographers. Their dominance is reflected in the signifiers of the genre, what great street photography looks like.  This ends up determining who gets into collections, takes up wall space, makes it into books and into our heads.

VIVIAN MAIER - Untitled (two boys on beach), 1965
Work by Vivian Meier, in Florida.

Work by Vivien Meier
Vivian Meier was out of that box. Many critics initially said her work was not great. I think it was significant, at the very least for the history of women in street photography. Aesthetics change over time. She saw in a relational manner, with great empathy and compassion for the human condition. Socially, contextually, and not in a conventional dramatic/epic/spectacular way. In photography, she is at least one of the great outsiders.

The show is at Florida Museum of Photographic Arts, runs through this Sunday, June 16th. It is a must-see show, not so much to judge for yourself, but to see the expressed passion of a committed photographer.

Amongst her belongings was a note written on an envelope from Central Camera, in which Meier's rolls would have been received by their lab. It read: "Do best job -- so no redo -- customer is very particular."
“Do best job–so no redo!!–customer is very particular” - See more at:
“Do best job–so no redo!!–customer is very particular” - See more at:

--- Luis

Work by Vivien Meier

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Seeing Red: The key to higher prices?

Henri Matisse, "The Dance"

Sotheby Sr. Specialist in Impressionist and Modern Art, Mr. Philip Hook, remarked two days ago that bidders are sometimes influenced by reasons that are “often alarmingly simplistic”. Particularly the presence of the color red, which is often associated with sex.

For more, see here: [Link]

---- Luis