"Love Las Vegas Arts" October-November 2018. Artists: Trenton Larsen and Based Glass with Phillip Limon and Dana Anderson. Design by Arts Factory. Curator was ISI Group
'18 OUT: In November I created a masthead so I could list Jim Daichendt and Andrea Lepage as contributors since we share an interest in street art, murals, and Latino/a art. I first contacted them when I was recruiting guest authors for "Writing on the Wall, " my former column at KCET . . . They hit the keyboard whenever they can for Paint This Desert. A masthead is a way to thank them.
If you don't already know him, Daichendt is Professor of Art History, Dean, College of Arts and Humanities of Point Loma University, and an author, including "The Urban Canvas: Street Art Around the World " and "Shepard Fairey Inc: Artist/Professional/Vandal. " He started reporting on art for San Diego Union-Tribune, something else for his long CV. You may recall his July 2018 post about Bansky on the West Bank. I'm always glad to have his insight on these virtual pages.
Lepage is an Art History professor at Washington & Lee University doing extraordinary work as an educator, curator, and essayist; such as her introduction to "BACA: Art, Collaboration & Mural Making " She is a scholar of public art and Latino/Chicano art in, of all places, the deep south. Her recent PtD post took a long look at Xavier Tavera's "Borderland" series.
They continue to grace Paint This Desert with thoughts on street, public art, Latino/a Art in relation to the broader West. We reserve the right to switch subjects at any time.
Since I am on a year-end thank you binge, let me note others who have jumped in. Maria Margarita Lopez, a former colleague from "Variety," and now filmmaker, has kept an eye on L.A. Jian Huang has also helped cover art points east of the World's Tallest Thermometer. Also, a thank you to Angela Brommel, Heather Lang, and DK Sole, all who penned prose underpinned with poetry. During MFA coursework there was back-up by Jamie Sontany, armed with coffee brewed in Nashville, a big red pen, and a bag of Oxford commas. Plus, I love that young artist, Jess Vanessa Alvarez just made her writing debut here. I met her when she was an undergrad and always thought she was a solid writer. Why not develop artist/writer skills early?
During a most unusual fall semester I kept asking myself if this experiment ran its course. Yet, its purpose was polished when another guest contributor, Scott Bennett, who covered JRâ€™s street art at the border for PtD, tossed me a statement. I noted that the photo and word essay he posted here was listed in his bio for another publication. He referred to Paint This Desert as an "Arts Journal. " Bennett had a critique of my archaic word. "The vision and critical scope of Paint This Desert go way beyond a blog." He wrote. "We need to keep legitimizing art and the critical study of art in the academic sphere. " So be it. ONLINE ARTS JOURNAL was added to the masthead. PtD is not done yet. I am still in town for now. Happy New Year. Onward to 2019.
OUTSIDE POV: "Overwhelming, poetic, a feast for the eyes - why, then, has Las Vegas not left a bigger footprint in the visual arts?" Wrote Jackson Arn at Artsy. "It's hard to think of the Impressionists without picturing the grand boulevards of late-19th-century Paris, or Expressionism without imagining the smoky alleyways of Weimar Berlin. So where is the Edgar Degas, or the Otto Dix, of Sin City?" . . . First: You have to go where the resident artists are working. Locals don't produce works on the Strip. That part of town is for the imports, the celebrity artists. I agree that temporary residency of art stars is a high-profile way to raise the local art bar, yet what really makes a reputation for a region is when good work is exported by locals.
ELSEWHERE AROUND TOWN
Wayne Littlejohn's model of his public art project being watched at the CSN Art and Art History Faculty Exhibition.
Info Sharing: As staff preps the space for Axis Mundo, UNLV's Barrick Museum of Art is dark. Someone there tossed out on Twitter that if you are in Las Vegas looking for art, consider take cues from Settlers and Nomads, Eat More Art, and here. Granted, it will be great for local print and broadcast media to dispatch more arts writers and reporters. Until that happens, we online scribes, and the internal social media staffers of institutions, will try to fill the gap.
Challenge Taken: Allow me expand on my original Twitter trigger-finger response. Hanging out in the Hallways: There is a solid collection of works by local artists that still roam the halls of Nevada State College, curated by Angela Brommel . . . Piece Maker: The collage/ installation at Delano Vegas by Jo Russhas been extended through the end of January 2019. . . . No Grading Allowed: There are still ceramics, digital media, printmaking, photography, mixed media on display in the 2018-2019 CSN Art and Art History Faculty Exhibition at the College of Southern Nevada. Through Saturday, January 26, 2019 . . . CITY: Windows on First: "In Flight: Energy Liberated" features the work of Nova May at Las Vegas City Hall, Windows on First (495 S. Main Street, along First Street). Through March 31 .
Radial Symmetry, December 2018.
ON THE MEDIUM: Luis Varela-Ricoâ€™s "Radial Symmetry" expanded his work with metal structures with this public art reference to the woven basket art of the Southern Paiute Tribe. It's on Main and Commerce. Metal Morning: The 16-by-16-foot public art is a stunning installation, dedicated in September, embedded within an industrial environment. Yet, if I worked at nearby City Hall and drove these two intersecting metal monoliths on my morning commute, it would remind me to pick up two bagels.
As seen Sunday morning at the Summerlin Barnes & Noble.
"Beyond the Stairs" by David Roberts is making the Clark County Library tour. The current stop for the exhibition of drawings made on different sized Etch-A-Sketches is still up at Enterprise Library. Through January 22.
SELFIE LOVE AND HATE: Yayoi Kusama's abstract occupancy of space has become a selfie point of reference, much to her surprise, yet thought to be calculated. The New York Times' Roberta Smith called her "a bit of a charlatan" who "stoops to conquer with mirrored 'infinity' rooms that attract hordes of selfie-seekers". The LA Times went further: "The most interesting feature of the rooms is that looking at the ubiquitous photos of them is as fulfilling as actually being there." And The Guardian once reported Kusama reignited the art-selfie bait debate: Kusama, "who has been making infinity rooms since the 1960s and has lived voluntarily in a Tokyo mental health facility since 1977, saw a resurgence in interest in her work in the late 2000s, right around the time smartphones were rising to ubiquity, that catapulted her into global superstardom."
I saw an infinity light room at The Broad, and the experience works well at Bellagio Gallery of Fine Art, and fits in the thematic "Immersion Experience" that MGM Resorts aspires to. If you time a visit right you won't have the same long lines seen in other cities. That all said, the Kusama Instagram effect is now a Las Vegas phenomenon. "Infinity Mirrored Room-Aftermath of Obliteration of Eternity" and "Narcissus Garden" runs through April 2.
MORE READING: Klash, Veronica. "Searching for Insight in the Bellagio Gallery's Room of Light." Desert Companion, Jan. 2019.
Photo by Tranquilo Tropical.
BACK FROM BASEL: Artist Clarice Tara Cuda asked Las Vegas to give a shout-out for her creative and Art Basel Miami partner, Amanda Keating, who built a performance art / installation site "from nothing, [and with Clarice] performed for over 24 hours in five days for over 10,000 people." The project was titled "Still Life" and created for â€‹Art Basel Miami through the curation of RAW POP UP. It had a pre-show run at Core Contemporary on November 4. Consider this a PtD shout-out for both Amanda and Clarice, and Nancy Good of Core Contemporary for giving the two Basel bound artists a one-night stay to practice the performance art piece.
AND ANOTHER THING: "Las Vegans are tired of hearing that their home doesn't have culture" wrote Leslie Ventura earlier this month. She notes that Luxury French perfumery Diptyque features "a permanent installation by French textile artist Janaina Milheiro. Her piece, comprising thousands of hand-cut yellow turkey, goose and iridescent acrylic faux-feathers, is an interpretation of Diptyque's 'ol factory landscape' and a nod to Las Vegas' feather-adorned history." I Las Vegas Weekly
BY THE WAY: On December 14 Nevada Arts Council announced 3rd Quarter Jackpot grants were awarded to Cameron Crain and Joseph Galata, both from Reno; and Joan Robinson of Boulder City. Las Vegas grantees are Douglas Jablin, Bonnie Kelso, Making Music Matter Foundation, Nevada Women's Film Collective, Big Four Educational Theatre Foundation/Las Vegas Little Theatre, and myself. We thank NAC for the support.
Courtesy Tim Burton.
BURTON BUZZ: You can expect to see this exhibition on many local year end "Best Of" lists in 2019. Tim Burton's large-scale sculptures have invaded other cities and galleries and will occupy the Neon museum's outdoor Boneyard exhibition space, its adjacent North Gallery and the visitors' center. The former animator, who became a stylized filmmaker we now know, returns to Las Vegas, his muse, his spirit animal city, his film location. In "Mar's Attacks!" (1996), the amusing yet macabre post-modern "Vegas as B-Movie Location" film, Burton set a tone how to revel in the imploding visual circus that is the Strip. The four-month run of "Tim Burton @ the Neon Museum" will also include new works. It opens October 15, just in time for Halloween.
'Trevor Paglen, 'Orbital Reflector', rendering. Trevor Paglen/Nevada Museum of Ar
"The Nevada Museum of Art's $1.5 million satell-art successfully hitched a ride on a crowded Space X Falcon 9 rocket Monday morning from southern California's Vandenberg Air Force Base. 'I had sweaty palms, but I donâ€™t think I have ever been more excited,' said museum Executive Director David Walker. The 'Orbital Reflector,' a 100-foot-long, diamond-shaped balloon that's taken about two years to coordinate, claims the title as the first-ever satellite orbiting our planet simply for art's sake." - As reported by the Reno Gazette Journal back on December 3. The balloon was designed by contemporary geopolitical artist Trevor Paglen.
BANSKY CHRISTMAS: Artist unknown. But I am stealing this.
POWER LIST OF ONE: The divisive'Hannah Gadsby: Nanette seems so long ago, yet the Netflix special from the Australian comedian changed standup. Her dry pokes about gender (and how males in art history repeat culture privilege), told us how a broken person can regain their power, even when facing those who may judge her. Gadsby changed our expectations from standup in the same way those privileged male art icons changed how we see forms made with paint.
GONE, BUT NOT FORGOTTEN: "Google released a virtual recreation of the National Museum of Brazil, which was gutted by a catastrophic fire in September. The virtual tour is powered by Museum View, the result of a project between Google and the Brazilian museum. Google Arts & Culture had begun working with the museum to bring their collection online. Now it is about exploring ancient artifacts lost to a fire.
DEADLINE MET: On Sunday morning, Maria Margarita Lopez was behind the scenes at the Rose Parade float building site in Pasadena. "Want some shots?" She asked. "Yes," said I. She was right on cue for this post.
LIST OF LISTS
Callum Morton Monument # 32: Helter Shelteâ€‹r Polyurethane, fast coat, timber, acrylic lacquer Courtesy Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery
"For the third year running, the art-and-design studio and foundry UAP has compiled a list of the most compelling public artworks and initiatives around the globe . . . With the help of international curators, UAP has highlighted 12 public works that captured the worldâ€™s imagination in 2018. We present their selections here, with exclusive commentary on each project from the curators who nominated the projects in question" I Artsy
- Year in Review 2018: Money and Art Clash I LATimes
- Best Art Stories of 2018 I NYTimesStyleMagazine
- Street Art Globe On The Best Art Insta Accounts To Follow I Forbes
- Here Are the 10 Absolute Best Works of Art We Saw Around the World in 2018 I ArtNet
- The Top 10 Queer Art Moments of 2018 I THEM
- Best of Art 2018 I NYTimes
- Best books of 2018 I Smithsonian Magazine
- Best of Art Books I NYTimes
- Top Ten Photography Shows I The Guardian
- The Year in, and Beyond, New York's Galleriesâ€”Plus a Top 10 From All Over I Art News
- From 'Best of 2018: Our Top 20 Exhibitions Around the World' I Hyperallergic: At number six is Game Changers from Public Art Munich, curated by Joanna Warsza, the work "demonstrates artâ€™s capacity to camouflage as social praxis, signaling an experiential turn in public art toward affect and experience . . . Public Art Munich reminded me that, in such remarkably bleak and desperate times, there has never been a greater need for radical, insurrectionary public art," writes Dorian Batycka.
POD: "The podcasting scene is booming, which can be both a blessing and a curse - while there are more shows than ever to fuel those beneficial hours on the treadmill, the loudest and most privileged voices always risk potentially drowning out those lesser-known ones. But marginalized podcasters are more than deserving of your listening time and a little promotion to help you find hidden gems," writes SYFY. Making the list at number seven is Latinos Who Lunch, yet another way to export the Las Vegas experience.
EXTRA: Ten best culture podcasts of 2018 I BBC
LAST WORDS: "We lost many beloved artists in 2018. The list includes the creator of possibly the most iconic work of Pop art; a pathbreaking ceramicist; a tireless documentary photographer; and a pioneer of Photorealism. Some lived into their nineties; others died tragically young. As the year comes to a close, we take a look back at some of the most impactful artists who died in 2018â€”and the timeless works for which they'll be remembered." I Artsy
"All great art is a visual form of prayer.
Sister Wendy Beckett
February 25, 1930 - December 26, 2018
Bunko to slip past the California/Nevada border.
Some of you know of my solo exhibition at the Riverside Art Museum (RAM) in February. The artist reception and gallery talk date is now set. It will be on Sunday, February 10, 2019, from 4 p.m.–7 p.m. I will share table time with Michael Alvarez [Mama's Boys (and Other Stories)] and artists from the group show Beast. I am looking forward to the chat-up on all the exhibitions. From the RAM website:
If you are coming in from Las Vegas, I can easily recommend you use a trip into Riverside to not just see works at the Riverside Art Museum, but also take part of the day to check out UCR ARTS, just a few blocks away. It houses the California Museum of Photography, the Jack and Marilyn Sweeney Art Gallery and the Barbara and Art Culver Center of the Arts
California Museum of Photography
The Riverside Art Museum has been the lead guardian in the development of The Cheech Marin Center for Chicano Art, Culture, and Industry, and has brought in artists to introduce new museum initiatives.
In between the Riverside Art Museum and UCR ARTS is the The Mission Inn, a great place to visit...or even stay. Anyone coming from Los Angeles can plan a day trip via Metrolink. There are runs between Union Station and the Riverside stop, which is an easy enough walk to the Riverside Art Museum. Call it the Bunko Express.
Ed Fuentes: Homeboy Fauxism
Exhibition: February 2 – March 31, 2019
Artist Reception and Gallery Talk:
Sunday, February 10, 2019, 4 p.m.
Over the weekend I was in a warm kitchen stuffed with Christmas décor and emerging matriarchs doing their first tamale-making session: a tamalada. In artspeak, that is an Allan Kaprow “Happening” of participating performance artists sharing spontaneous spoken word narrative while practicing an assemblage of mixed organic materials that are a reference to ephemera Holiday folk traditions. In family-speak, it is gossip while prepping for dinner.
Helming the stove was my cousin, around my age, talking her daughters (and one high school age granddaughter) through the assembly line, a holiday wrapping tradition. It was their first attempt doing it as a team.
My Dad and my Tia (Aunt) supervised the passing of “the leaves,” the family nickname for husks. The head chef/ curator cousin offering me a sample of the roasted pork that had a long simmer in a homemade sauce the day before. "Good? Yea?" She asked. I nodded. The chili bit me back a bit, yet pulled out a deeply embedded flashback of a familiar flavor.
I asked my cousin if the sauce was her recipe. While sipping her beer during her ten second break from the heat, she gave a head nod toward my Aunt, her mom, my Dad's sister-in-law. Queen Tia was sitting down with a regal aura, and looked at me to say with a practiced casual authority, "It's your grandma's recipe."
"Is it written down?" I asked, hopefully. The Tia looked around kitchen of noise and masa, her eyes counted the brood of daughters that came after her: "No, but the girls got it now."
Next year I plan to smuggle the family secret across the California-Nevada border.
Carmen Lomas Garza, Tamalada, 1990, color lithograph, Smithsonian American Art Museum, (c) 1990, Carmen Lomas Garza, Museum purchase made possible by John B. Turner, 1997.5
José Guadalupe Posada, The Tamale, woodcut, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of Jack Lord, 1971.439.7
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.