Artist, writer, photographer and fellow blogger Art Browne has a unique – and sometimes twisted – view of our universe. Which is why I know, without a doubt, that he is my long-lost twin brother! When not tormenting spiders or ridiculing helpless cats on his blog, “Pouring My Art Out”, Brother Art captures some truly fascinating visions of the natural world. In a recent series of simple cell phone shots, he photographed the moon in various stages and from various angles over San Diego, California. A few of them are presented below.
I have to concede these lunar photos make me feel incredibly sentimental. Every time I look up at the sky and see that glorious moon, I – sniff – always get homesick.
Curators at the High Museum of Art in Atlanta, Georgia have developed a new app called “Heartmatch” where visitors can learn what historical painting best represents them. I thought, what the hell; it looks like good fun. So, I tried it and got this:
Now I know why I didn’t get my first computer until May of 2000 and my first cell phone until October of 2001. BECAUSE ME AND TECHNOLOGY NEVER HAVE BEEN SYMBIOTIC!
I guess I’ll just resort to finding my “heart
match” the old-fashioned way: bars, truck stops and porn videos.
Well, at long last, someone has found a good use for old phone booths*. Botanical designer Lewis Miller ambushed the streets of New York City recently to adorn an otherwise ordinary corner in swaths of floral color and energy. A few years ago Miller transformed the notoriously banal empty garbage cans into vases of sumptuous flowers. In this most recent endeavor to make a gritty urban area appear palatable – a project he dubs “Flower Flash” – Miller and his crew filled a Manhattan telephone booth with a plethora of flowers and greenery.
“What initially began as a Lewis Miller design experiment to reinvigorate and reconnect us to our craft, turned into a beautiful shared experience in a city of millions,” the group stated. The “reactions to our flower flashes emphasizes the basic goodness in all people and prioritizes compassion”.
The results are more than a little impressive, and I feel we
need more of Lewis Miller’s works in our increasingly crowded and convoluted
*To the under-30 crowd, phone booths are tall glass structures where people would have to make phone calls if they weren’t at home, at work or in jail. You’d put a quarter into a little slot towards the bottom of the actual phone; wipe the receiver as best you could so you wouldn’t catch germs like herpes or gingivitis; and press little buttons on said phone to make the call.
Donald Trump’s star on Hollywood’s legendary “Walk of Fame” has been vandalized too many times to count in the nearly two years since the cantankerous business tycoon was selected by the former Soviet Union to be our president. The City of Hollywood – trying to perform its civic duty – has been willing to consider any reasonable idea of how to protect “The Donald’s” star.
A street artist known as “Plastic Jesus” has devised an ingenious idea: put the star behind bars. Literally!
“There have been calls to jail Trump since the day he was elected, and today he was certainly put behind bars – or at least his now infamous star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame was caged,” PJ wrote in a recent email to Artnet News.
The London-born Los Angeles resident has become known for ambushing the public – and specifically, public figures – with graffiti-style street art combining humor and irony to express his criticism of current affairs. In other words, he’s a true artist who tackles weighty subjects in order to piss off people who believe everything is just fine with the world. In this case, the pissed off would be Trump supporters, as well as those who merely shrug at the sight of Trump’s star on the “Walk of Fame”. It’s obvious (to those of us not been enamored with celebrity) that Trump’s placement in the White House is the most blatant act of fraud since Bill Cosby was labeled “America’s Dad”.
“Artists are able to connect and convey opinion in a universal way,” PJ notes. “So I think it’s important for artists to speak out. I think art encourages dialogue and debate like no other media.”
My advice? Keep pissing people off, brother!
Just another typical day on the “Walk of Fame” in Hollywood, California.
What can you buy for a dollar these days? Maybe a pack of gum, or a single doughnut. In Chicago, it can buy an entire building. Okay, said building is a 1920s-era former bank on the city’s south side. Long-abandoned and crumbling from one end to the other, it’s the type of structure where the best residents are birds and rats. Artist Theaster Gates, however, saw something else: a world class arts center. The Chicago native, an urban planner with a gallery of prestigious art awards and even more creative vision, literally purchased the 20,000-square-foot edifice for a single U.S. dollar in 2013 from the city and began transforming it into a conclave for exhibitions, artist residencies and the headquarters for the Rebuild Foundation, a nonprofit organization he established in 2010 to foster cultural and artistic development in forgotten and underprivileged neighborhoods. Earlier this month the former Stony Island State Savings Bank was reintroduced as the Stony Island Arts Bank. Among other artifacts, it contains the book collection of John H. Johnson, founder of “Ebony” and “Jet” magazines; the record collection of Frankie Knuckles, the “Godfather of House Music”; and slides of art collections from the University of Chicago and the Art Institute of Chicago.
Gates described the center as a “a repository for African American culture and history, a laboratory for the next generation of black artists,” and “a space for neighborhood residents to preserve, access, reimagine and share their heritage, as well as a destination for artists, scholars, curators, and collectors to research and engage with South Side history.”
As a writer, I’m naturally attracted to the slew of books the place houses. But it’s obviously much more than a glorified library. It’s a people’s center; far removed from the ranks of high society cocktail parties and stuffy art museums. Gates has connected the beauty of art and literature – hallmarks of a progressive nation – with communities that some thought worthless. In this volatile election season, where self-proclaimed saviors of the masses regurgitate their ideas of revolution and the future, that’s simply extraordinary.
If Edvard Munch’s “The Scream” isn’t enough to create the anxiety within you that it was intended to invoke, then its $119,922,500 price tag should do it. The iconic work Munch produced in 1895 is supposed to be a reflection of an anxious society on the verge of a new century. I guess that’s why it continues to entrance people. Last week “The Scream” broke a world record, becoming the most expensive artwork sold at an auction conducted by Sotheby’s. The figure in the drawing – which is actually a pastel on board and not classified as a painting – is said to be man holding his head and hollering beneath a blood-red sky. I’ve always thought it looks like an androgynous cretin drawn by an angry kindergartener. But, if people in 1890’s Europe were angst-ridden, then I’d hate to see their reaction in early 21st century America.
Munch described his inspiration for the drawing:
“I was walking along a path with two friends – the sun was setting – suddenly the sky turned blood red – I paused, feeling exhausted, and leaned on the fence – there was blood and tongues of fire above the blue-black fjord and the city. My friends walked on, and I stood there trembling with anxiety – and I sensed an infinite scream passing through nature.”
And, of course, being the good artist he was, Munch let his dreams move his hand. Who says artists aren’t human?