Posted inArt

Fluxus for the Linux Generation

New York is a city awash in information. If your body was a receiver can you imagine how overwhelmed by senseless Facebook updates and spam mail it would be? It goes without saying that the more connected we are the more unavoidable digital reality becomes. This does not exclude the white walls of the art gallery. Artie Vierkant’s first solo exhibition Image Object at Higher Pictures on the Upper East Side is proof of this.

Posted inArt

Experiencing Emily Noelle Lambert’s Personal Creative World

Sitting on one of Emily Noelle Lambert’s free-form, functional sculptures and surrounded by other found wood sculptures, huge canvases, and smaller paintings tucked around her Heart Heat exhibition at Lu Magnus, I had the distinct feeling that I entered into the artist’s personal world, a place where color, form, and balance skillfully link the two and three dimensional art objects all around.

Posted inArt

Revisiting the Radical Energy of 1968

Currently on view at the Oakland Museum of California is The 1968 Exhibit, which focuses on the culture of that unforgettable year. Organized by the Minnesota History Center, the Atlanta History Center, the Chicago History Museum, and the Oakland Museum, this expansive show explores the tumultuous year whose highlights include human space travel, the assassinations of both Martin Luther King, Jr. and Robert F. Kennedy, the rise of the Black Panthers, the Beatles, and hippie culture, the first wide use of plastics, and many other things.

Posted inFilm

Ethnic Cleansing: Colorblind Casting in Cloud Atlas

Last month, British actor Jim Sturgess sent a tweet to his 40,000 followers which read: “Yellowface? Blackface? Pinkface? Pinkberry? Blueberry? Strawberry? Bananas? Frozen Yogurt? All the toppings? … Lovely!” The message was Sturgess’s veiled response to recent criticism of his role in the upcoming science fiction epic Cloud Atlas. Sturgess, along with stars Halle Berry, Tom Hanks, Hugo Weaving, Ben Whishaw, and Hugh Grant plays not one but six different characters in the movie.

Posted inArt

Dreaming in Argentina When Juan Perón Was President

There are a many reasons to go see Faking It: Manipulated Photography Before Photoshop, curated by Mia Freeman, at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Yves Klein leaps into the void and Lyndon Johnson’s nose grows long and pointed (would that this would happen to all politicians who lie to their constituents!). Freeman presents the work in thematic groups, such as “Politics and Persuasion” and “Novelties and Amusements.

Posted inArt

The Four Horsemen of a New Detroit

DETROIT — Detroit faces the best/worst of times. It teems with inventive artists and entrepreneurs whose work and presence generate solid philanthropy and investment. At the same time, increasingly severe budget cuts are hitting schools, police, firefighters and transportation systems hard; poverty and crime remain high. Understanding the city’s open land mass (roughly 143 square miles with a population of just over 700,000 — compare this to Manhattan with about 34 square miles and over 1,600,000 residents) helps to make sense of things.

Posted inArt

Playful, Sinister, and Simple Ceramics

Just north of UC Berkeley’s campus, hidden away in a small patch of woods, is the Berkeley Art Center, currently showing the exhibition Local Treasures: Bay Area Ceramics. Wanting to know more about the Bay Area’s art scene — craft included — I felt compelled to visit. The beautiful, small building has quiet grounds sprinkled with larger ceramic works. The current show includes eleven artists working in clay, with pieces ranging from simple functional pots to complex installations. The exhibition is an eclectic grouping of artists who most likely wouldn’t be shown together if not for the local theme.

Posted inArt

Steeped in Tradition but Straining Toward the Future

MANILA, Philippines — There is a sweet dish in the Philippines called halo-halo, a rainbow of beans, fruits, and jellies mixed with ice and topped with ice cream. Literally translated, it means “mix-mix,” as if repetition were needed to reassert its delectable cacophony of flavors. Walking the halls of this year’s ManilART was a bit like working through a tall glass of halo-halo.

Posted inArt

Uganda’s 2nd Annual Contemporary Art Festival Fills Pop-Up Storage Containers

KAMPALA, Uganda — All over Kampala, and in many parts of Uganda, you’ll find them: shipping containers. From and to all over the world, shipping containers arrive and go out. Some stay, serving as a storage container on the side of a road, repurposed for whatever the contents. Others go. But, for this foreigner at least, they make up part of the city’s character.

Posted inArt

The Impossible Joy of Finding Meaning

BERKELEY, California — Ratio 3 gallery’s new show of work by Lutz Bacher is a must see. The large, skylight-lit, raw gallery space is perfect for Bacher’s captivating installation of audio, visual, and sculptural work. Upon entering the gallery one immediately focuses on the small black spheres scattered about the floor. After a hesitant test, the black orbs turn out to be squishy balls. Along the walls are framed black and white astronomy prints cut out from a book. As one weaves their way through the balls (or in my case, kicked my way until I was asked to avoid touching the work) the visual connection between the galactic formations and the floor installation was obvious.