Holly Rae Vaughn signing her "Gem" I Courtesy of the artist.
FIELD NOTES: The new public art by local artists were scheduled to be installed in their medians by May 2016. They have been getting up one-by-one despite delays one can expect in a new public art initiative. Some "Centered" sculptures are working around permits, construction, and theft like pedestrians dodging traffic . . . Next Up: Chris Bauder's "Night Eyes" lion was lifted, then recovered, and will be reinstalled in the next few weeks, said Michael Ogilvie, public art specialist for Clark County. So will K.D. Matheson's sculpture for Decatur Boulevard. Jesse Smigel's work will be up next month, and Luis Varela-Rico is waiting for roadwork at his location to be completed. Though no date is set, a ceremonial dedication for the ten sculptures is being planned.
Miguel Rodriguez "Untitled." I This Huichol marked jaguar sits at Desert Inn Road and McLeod Drive (in front of the Winchester Cultural Center).
Adolfo Gonzalez "Octosteam" I 4060 Pecos-McLeod Drive Interconnect, north of the Flamingo Arroyo trailhead.
Holly Rae Vaughn "Gem" I 6963 Windmill Lane , East of Rainbow.
Chris Bauder "Night Eyes" I Decatur Boulevard near Flamingo Road, will be reinstalled.
Chris O’Rourke "Native Dance' I East Reno Avenue at Koval, off Tropicana Avenue, adjacent to McCarran Airport.
Luis Varela-Rico's work for Eastern and Serene Avenues will be installed this Fall, according to Clark County public art officials.
Robin Stark & Eric Pawloski abstract figures are now greeting drivers at 2925 N. Pecos Road, near Las Vegas Boulevard.
Jesse Smigel's "Centered" project will land on 11357 N. Decatur Boulevard, on the roundabout in front of Clark County shooting complex.
Team ZDC "Arc-Spine" on Durango Drive near Lone Mountain Road.
Courtesy Nevada State Museum Las Vegas
A new exhibition at the Nevada State Museum may have been impossible without that human desire to reinterpret casino ashtrays and matchbooks as souvenirs. Fred Wasser on “Branding Las Vegas, 1941 to 1958 – Highlights from the Greeno Collection" for KNPR
"Centered' artist Miguel Rodriguez talks about his new installation I LV Weekly
Review of Martin Kreloff and Diane Bush at Sahara West Library I LV Weekly
"Edward Burtynsky: Oil" features more than 50 large-scale color landscape photographs at the Marjorie Barrick Museum. It opens September 23 I UNLV
SIGN DOWN. WE WILL REBUILD: 'Welcome to Downtown Las Vegas" sign toppled by truck Sunday morning. There is drive-by video of the aftermath. I Review Journal
100 'Sheroes' posed nude at the Republican National Convention for photographer Spencer Tunick's “Everything She Says Means Everything." Huffington Post + ArtNet
How to meet a public art challenge by Bloomberg Philanthropies: ‘Current: L.A.’ Brings New Art Projects to the City I NYTimes
KPCC ponders if Pokémon Go' can be a way to teach gamers about public art.
"How Women's Issues Are Shown in Street Art" by Eva Recinos for BUST
"Chinati, that mecca of minimalism, was launched by the late artist Donald Judd in the tiny West Texas town of Marfa. And this summer, (James) Irwin is about to be canonized in that small circle of artists who include Judd, Dan Flavin, Carl Andre and John Wesley. There's two wings of his art installation – a stark grey building around a central courtyard. Inside, long banks of high windows filter in the desert daylight in astonishing ways." KPCC
Make American Hate and Berate Again:
"In just eight years, the very idea of an everyday visual language has fractured in the ephemeral, fast-moving worlds of Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. " Political art in a very unusual year I NYTimes
A golden age for political satire. Every late night show seems to be camping at the RNC I NYTimes
Jon Stewart will join Stephen Colbert's Late Show live episodes for the Republican National Convention I Hollywood Reporter.
Colbert started early by taking over the RNC stage to "open the games" I YouTube
"How an angry national mood is reflected in pop culture" I LATimes
When the TRUMP SPENCE logo was revealed it did not go well. It was changed in a day I Politico + Wall Street Journal + Time (and just about everyone).
"It's been worn, memed and burned: How Donald Trump's 'Make America Great Again' hat reflects a nation's anger" Carolina A. Miranda for the LATimes
Cleveland artists lay in wait for Donald Trump and the Republican convention ":to remind delegates of the city’s history of police brutality and racial segregation." I The Guardian
“It took about 52 cinder blocks,” said David Gleeson, who with Mary Mihelic, built their version of a Trump wall. It's 20 yards from the US-Mexico border I NYTimes + Hyperallergic
All this hate. All we need is love: Cirque du Soleil’s “The Beatles Love” show ended with Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr stepping onstage together at the conclusion of Thursday’s official 10th anniversary celebration performance I LATimes
I loved the article on Ed Ruscha: "one of the coolest, most clever, yet, even, most sincere artists of our time—a man who is at once SoCal’s quintessential Pop artist and among its most formidable conceptual artists" I Juxtapoz
For the Olympics, Brazilian street artist Eduardo Kobra will create a "3-thousand square meter mural, named 'Ethnicities' " I PressTV
Epic statue of Guan Yu, ancient Chinese Warrior God, stands over 150 feet tall I Popular Mechanics
Epic statue of an 18b robot unveiled as public art tired and leaning against a wall. I Paint This Desert
Artist Aaron Sheppard navigated mermaids through Joshua Tree to honor memories of Coney Island.
By Laura Henkel
What to do when you live in the Mojave Desert and you long to be flip-flopping around at the Mermaid Parade in Coney Island? To counter feeling like a fish out of water, you invite a group of adventurous friends from Las Vegas to dress up and strut their stuff amongst the Yucca palm trees and honking cars of Highway 62 in Joshua Tree, California.
Artist Aaron Sheppard leads a procession of mermaids, sea urchins and a seashell-clad pooka in the aproprosly named parade, Bearded and Shucked. His larger than life creation of a green lace bodysuit, fish bobbins for breasts, high heel boots and a orca-adorned staff shepherds a colorful cast of characters through dirt roads, convenience stores, and bars under a moody desert sky.
Sheppard says, “I was intending to dress like Neptune with a long white beard. My character morphed into itself as a more playful iteration, since, as creating it, I decided I wanted something more dynamic and simply fun. I found its eyes (rubber car scraps along the road) as I walked the parade path before the event as a dry run endurance test. The eyes made the character more Sleestak-esque (Land of the Lost). My outfit had become alien or reptilian, while also being plush puppet-like - a perfect mascot for mermaids.”
Sheppard’s vast body of work consists of painting, performance, installation and sequential art. His works engage sexuality and gender identity. Sheppard’s personal retreat and atelier, Horns of Cypress, reflects his affinity for tangible dualities that are actually complementary and interconnected in nature. Elements of masculinity femininity, desert and aquatic life embody his desert Xanadu.
Bearded and Shucked embraces Sheppard’s keen performative nature. The artist elaborates, “My work has evolved in the last few years from purely spectacle, as physically engaging within the space of my viewers, to a more objectification of the body as living sculpture. I enjoy a fascination with books, storytelling and morals outlining the life development of a person. I source fable, religion and my own reflective writing for iconic examples then incorporate what I find into examinations of identity or role-playing.”
The Mermaid Parade is a party that exists from the opulence of self-adornment all the way through to the end of melted off makeup and remnants of well-worn costumes. Despite triple digits of extreme heat, the merriment of all who attended the Joshua Tree parade brought joy to everyone they met along the parade route. The group’s interacting brought connections and smiles otherwise not there. In the end, nothing matters more than genuine rawness, love between friends and strangers, appreciations of simple fun. The desert heat only amplified the sincerity of parade participants and made distant onlookers wonder if it were all a mirage.
The intention of Bearded and Shucked pays tribute to the original parade in Coney Island. Sheppard has been attending that parade since 1996 and has a core group of people that he goes with and meets there almost religiously. The desert parade serves as an honor to all the people Sheppard has met at each Mermaid Parade who have celebrated life to the fullest and have encouraged him to be the artist who he is today. Bearded and Shucked is an opportunity to be with friends and create new experiences. Future parades will be held earlier in the year to take advantage of cooler temperatures and access to the Joshua Tree National Park for good ol' mermaid posing sessions.
Sheppard’s Joshua Tree paradise is accessible year round to patrons and overnight guests through Airbnb. His atelier serves as a sophisticated gallery, as well as a place to create and contemplate. Sheppard is one of those rare creatures who embodies beauty, purity, mystery and kindness to all – even a group of dusty mermaids. His art mimics his life.
ABOVE: Gig Depio
“Through the Muddy”
2017-18 480” x 144”
Oil on Canvas
An Online Arts Journal
February 2 – March 31, 2019
and Gallery Talk:
Sunday, February 10, 2019,
4 p.m.–7 p.m.