Emerge This

An Analysis of the 2017 Rudin Prize for Emerging Photographers at the Norton Museum

The Norton Museum of Art is exhibiting the finalists for the Rudin Prize for Emerging Photographers. “Emerging” is one of those art world words that is essentially a euphemism that translate as: Not quite big time enough to be considered a blue chip art star and yet an achiever of a modest semi-established exhibition and sales record perhaps worthy of a small provincial museum exhibition…. A terrible term to be sure, the concept of “emerging” as it is employed in the Rudin Prize show is both condescending to the artists shown and insulting to those thinkers and artists, established or not, who value the phenomenon of evolution, process, maturation, and discovery… It is one of those linguistic markers art critics and curators employ to write the strange and mysterious cartography of contemporary art. It may be time to steal this troubled little word back… Continue Reading

2017 Venice Biennale Journal: Day 1

I decide to immediately head out and brave through my stomach virus. I stopped at a tiny bakery and ordered food to sustain me. My order was prosecco, focaccia with olives and sopressata, and a scoop of hazelnut gelato, all fantastic.

Venice is all mazes and alleys, no cars, no bikes. It is easy to get lost in this amazing city. Having lost my iphone I was resorting to old-school navigation, asking for directions in my limited Italian and writing things down. Immediately I recall the fun of getting lost and not caring about time. This is a very special phenomenon in Venice. You cannot be in a hurry and you must enjoy the trip, no matter how brief, as much as the mission or destination. It reminded me of my first time here ten years ago. Old sensations, thoughts, and ideas re-emerged from that trip in October of 2007. I was reminded of how much I love the light, the colors, and the textures of the buildings. I was reminded of how nice the Italians are to all the local tourists. I was reminded of fast-paced and stressed American life is by comparison to life in Venice. Continue Reading

BASK and TES ONE, Pound & A Bear Hug at CASS Tampa

Tes One, Transfer, acrylic on wood panels, 2015

Tes One, Transfer, acrylic on wood panels, 2015

The Contemporary Art & Studio Space (CASS) in Tampa, Florida just opened a new exhibition called Pound & A Bear Hug featuring the work of Bask and Tes One, two graffiti artists and friends who often work in parallel methods with divergent results.

The work of both artists transcended the often predictable paradigms of graffiti art in both stylistic elements and thematic targets. Largely graphic in its execution, the work of Tes One harkened back to a strange kind of 1970’s t-shirt nostalgia of faded space rock sci fi fantasy chromatic elements. The subdued hand and hint of chaos approached abstraction while staying within the borderlands of design. The paintings, such as Transfer, hover along many boundaries without every seeming too strained or pastiche-like. The work as fine art and yet the roguish tendencies of street art, populism and graphic design provide a hint of structure and stability.

Viewers will come away with a refreshed take on how artists from a more urban and street-art lineage may apply their techniques and interests in a more fine art setting. I make the distinction in spite of the neo-democratic ideology of equating each art type and form as a neutral, equally-valid creative expression. The truth is, street art, graffiti art, comic art and other forms of more populist and graphic expression are simply not concerned with the same stylistic elements and audience found among contemporary artists whose principal venue is the clean white cube we call an art gallery.

The show at CASS heightens sensitivities as it punctures assumptions. It is also a success because the work is solid and is made with a profound sense of earnestness and belief in paint as craft.

George Magalios and Technesophia

George Magalios is working in a new project called Technesophia, a fusion of art, cultural theory and cocktails. It will feature prominent curators, artists, collectors and thinkers along with great food and craft cocktails.

All proceeds will benefit a particular local charity. Stay tuned for more information.