Family Reunion

Some friends I met recently on a visit to Detroit, hanging out in the Detroit Institute of Art.

Ritual Figure early 1900's , Unknown Artist, Kongo Culture, Democratic Republic of Congo

Ritual Figure
early 1900’s , Unknown Artist, Kongo Culture, Democratic Republic of Congo

Female Figure 1300's, Unknown Artist, Chancay Culture, Peru

Female Figure
1300’s, Unknown Artist, Chancay Culture, Peru

Standing Warrior with Club 100 B.C.E. - 400 C.E., Unknown Artist, Jalisco Culture, West Mexico

Standing Warrior with Club
100 B.C.E. – 400 C.E., Unknown Artist, Jalisco Culture, West Mexico

Storm King

Entering the South Fields of Storm King  _  photo: AndyToad

Last week I was able to escape the city for a few days with an excursion up the Hudson River. On one of those days, about 50 miles upriver, tucked away in the Hudson River Valley I found The Storm King Art Center – a fantastic outdoor sculpture museum. Thankfully I wore my walking shoes – for over 100 monumental sculptures are spread out across Storm King’s massive grounds (500 plus acres.)

Here are a few of the many sculptures living amongst the hills, fields and woodlands of the Hudson valley. I strongly recommend a visit.

Adonai  by Alexander Liberman  _  1970 _ Steel  _  photo: AndyToad

Under Adonai  _  photo: AndyToad

Free Ride Home  by Kenneth Snelson  _  1974  _  Aluminum and stainless steel  _  photo: AndyToad

LUBA  by Ursula von Rydingsvard  _  2009-2010  _  Cedar, cast bronze, and graphite  _  photo: AndyToad

LUBA’s view from Museum Hill  _  photo: AndyToad

Solarium  by William Lamson  _  2012  _  Steel, glass, sugar, plants  _  photo: AndyToad

Solarium  by William Lamson  _  2012  _  Steel, glass, sugar, plants  _  photo: AndyToad

View of Mom and Dad through Solarium  _  photo: AndyToad

Three-Legged Buddha  Zhang Huan  _  2007  _  Steel-and-copper  _  photo: AndyToad

Three-Legged Buddha   Zhang Huan   _   2007  _  Steel-and-copper  _  photo: AndyToad

Foci  by Chakaia Booker  _  2010  _  Rubber tire and stainless steel  _  photo: AndyToad

Foci  by Chakaia Booker  _  2010  _  Rubber tire and stainless steel  _  photo: AndyToad

Mermaid  by Roy Lichtenstein  _  1994  _  Painted carbon fiber and epoxy over aluminum  _  photo: AndyToad

Suspended  by Menahse Kadishman  _  1977  _  Weathering steel  _  photo: AndyToad

Endless Column  by Tal Streeter  _  1968  _  Painted steel  _  photo: AndyToad

We Found Love in a Hopeless Place

One of my favorite pieces in the Brooklyn Museum is the Likishi Dance Costume. I make time to see her whenever I visit.

The Museum’s Likishi dance costume in performance, Zambia, 1935 (Photo: Margaret Carson Hubbard)

Museum Text:

Likishi Dance Costume and Accessories (Mwana Pwevo)

Unidentified Luvale artist, late 19th or early 2oth century
Northwest province, Zambia
Fiber, wood, hide, metal, seedpods, bark, rope, hair, organic materials

This complete dance costume shows how masks are normally one part of a larger ensemble. The mask is sewn directly onto the costume of looped bark and fiber, which fits tightly over the body of the dancer. Seedpod rattles and metal bells added a musical aspect to the performance.

Although they are danced by Luvale men, mwana pwevo masks depict women. In order to own and perform with a mask, a man had to symbolically marry it by paying the carver a copper ring as a bride price. In doing so, the dancer made a commitment to honor and care for the spirit represented in the mask. In return, the dancer was able to earn his livelihood performing at local festivals.

Michigan, Amazing

Ox-Bow Hot Mess quick update – The class just completed an armature project, some photos below. Also below, a view from “The Crow’s Nest” of Lake Michigan.


Hot Mess

I write this blog entry from a cabin overlooking the Ox-Bow Lagoon deep within the Tallmadge Woods of Michigan. Sunday afternoon I began a two week teaching residency at the Ox-Bow School of the Arts. The “camp” is quite off the beaten path. It’s so dark out here at night that I can’t see my hand in front of my face – the stars are breathtaking. My cell phone doesn’t work in camp and the internet is only available in special hot spots. (I ‘d planned regular updates to my blog about my experiences here but finding the time and the internet connection has proven difficult.)

My class, Hot Mess: Wearable Sculpture, is going very well. It’s been a whirlwind since I arrived, class started Sunday night at 8PM. I have 11 exceptionally talented students. Upon our first meeting co-teacher Mike Andrews and I informed the class that we would be participating in a parade in the local town the following day for the fourth of July. Our group theme – Mardi-Gras Turtle. Everyone must have a costume. Ready, set, go.

Oh and costumes we had! In under 24 hours we became some of the Hottest Turtle Messes that I’ve ever seen. The parade was amazing. As part of our class process we’re taking portraits of each other as we make and move along. Some highlights below.

We’ve been busy bees. Along many interesting class discussions, demonstrations, and presentations of each others work we’re also making a music video. Tomorrow night we shoot in beauty parlor that we’ve obtained keys to. In addition to designing and costuming we’re also performing in the video after we give each other body modifying makeovers…

This place is kind of a dream come true. The energy and creativity of the class is high and we’re going strong!

More soon.

Swallowed by the Machine

Today my roommate and I went to the Park Avenue Armory to check out the “installation” by Ryoji Ikeda, The Transfinite. I wasn’t exactly sure what we were in for and was completely surprised. As we entered the massive drill hall reality slid away…The experience was all-encompassing, incredible, a sensory overload. (I felt ill afterward.) How to describe… Imagine melding Close Encounters of the Third Kind with the Singularity.

Amazing. See it if you can.

May 20 — June 11, 2011

                                                                                                              photo: from the toad cam

Blurb from the Armory website:

Ryoji Ikeda has been selected by the Armory for its third annual visual art commission in the Wade Thompson Drill Hall. Ikeda creates a visual and sonic environment where visitors are submerged in an extreme illustration of projected and synchronized data. His work uses scale, light, shade, volume, shadow, electronic sounds, and rhythm to flood the senses. In choreographing vast amounts of digital information, Ikeda conjures up a transformative environment in which visitors confront data on a scale that defies comprehension, experiencing the infinite.

Morning Flavour – Blasphemous Boldness

Melun Diptych by Jean Fouquet
(Named after the French city where the diptych used to be kept.)


Left Wing: Etienne Chevalier with his patron saint St. Steven
(Chevalier was treasurer to King Charles VII, this diptych was intended to be displayed on his grave)
tempera on panel c. 1450
Germäldegalerie, Berlin

Right Wing: Virgin and Child Surrounded by Angels
(Model believed to be Agnes Sorel, mistress of King Charles VII)
tempera on panel c. 1450
Royal Museum of Fine Arts, Antwerp