Nov 24, 2011

The Color of Pumpkin:

Nov 23, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving

One of his students asked Buddha, "Are you the Messiah?"
"No", answered Buddha.
"Then are you a healer?"
"No,", Buddha replied.
"Then are you a teacher?" the student persisted.
"No, I am not a teacher."
"Then what are you?" asked the student, exasperated.
"I am awake", Buddha replied.

Nov 19, 2011

Casting A Glance

"Not everybody sees the art in the same way,
only an artist viewing art
knows the ecstasy or dread,

this viewing takes place in time.

A great artist can make art
by simply casting a glance..."

Complexity and Transformation
The Cultural Landscape Foundation
November 18, 2011
I will listen to anyone who tries to articulate how the memories of their childhood landscape, influence the work they do today.  Charles Birnbaum, Founder and President of The Cultural Landscape Foundation asked all the participants at the Second Wave of Modernism conference to frame their remarks in a personal way.  Everyone stuck to the script.  From the Forest Cemetary in Stockholm to the industrial oil tanks of Newark, New Jersey to the desert of Yakima, Washington, each landscape architect articulated how their early versions of nature informed their future professional bias.

I found the most intriguing person at the conference, THE BAD GIRL of  landscape architecture:  Julie Bargmann, founder of D.I.R.T. studio.  The name of the her firm, tells a lot about what she is interested in.
Bargmann started off as a sculptor and her addiction to looking at the work of artists (Robert Irwin, Eve Hesse and Donald Judd) are keys to her working relationship to the landscape.   "I want to find the untitled in the landscape."  Her work is about not imposing form on the site, but finding the focus within a site.  Bargmann likes working with regenerative landscapes.  The industrial waste sites that populate America, are the places that speak to her.  For Bargmann many of these sites are archaeology.... making visible the crafts and industries that  once employed people and provided their livelihoods. This kind of work isn't for everyone.  "It's a messy experience."
Bargmann lost the competition for the High Line, which she mentioned without much difficulty.  Without saying much, you could understand how differently she would have approached the project.  It might have remained a place layered with history.

Using the rubble from demolition at the Urban Outfitters project in Philadelphia to create a hardscape and the curvilinear steel from  railroad track that once existed here. 

"These orphaned landscapes are our national parks.  They are the new urban frontier.  It's a wild landscape of a different kind."

I have been considering this question of wild landscapes, and how to make them visible; as I work in a place where the "soil" is construction fill, the landscape harmed by intervention of the building of the Triboro Bridge and general neglect over time.  Maybe, "a great artist can make art by simply casting a glance," but I am finding it a lot harder.

Nov 17, 2011

Stopping and
Taking a Moment:

A Talk with
Lucien Clergue
Moderated by Dan Leers
Beaumont and Nancy Newhall Curatorial Fellow 
in the Department of Photography at the Museum of Modern Art
FIAF Gallery
22 East 60th Street

Clergue in America
FIAF Gallery
Curated by Anne Clergue, the artists daughter
November 10 - December 21, 2011

It's not often you meet someone, who has paled around with Pablo Picasso...Jean Cocteau, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Marcel Breuer, Ansel Adams, Edward Steichen, and Robert Rauschenberg - to name just a few.

Clergue is French, from Arles.  He came to New York at the urging of Edward Steichen. 
Dear Lucien Clergue:
I am pleased to hear that there is at least a chance of your coming to New York when we will be showing your splendid photographs at this Museum.  I hope that you will be able to realise this, as your meeting the American photographers here and the American photographers meeting you as well as your work would be a fine step in the advancement of modern photography,with a decided mutual benefit to all concerned.

With all good wishes -
Sincerely yours,
Edward Steichen
Director of Photography

This letter is so straightforward and innocent.  It struck me that no gallery owner or curator would ever write a letter like this today.  It reminds us that art was once not big business, but an exchange of ideas among artists.

At 76, Clergue is spry and animated.  He talked about  his own work by telling stories.

What were your first impressions of NYC in 1961 or What was it about Point Lobos and the work of Edward Weston that captivated you?

 "I went to Caramel to see the atelier of Edward Weston and was blown away.  For the next 12 years, I stayed off and on with Ansel Adams photographing rocks and nudes". 

Ansel said to me "I have been here for 40 years and I have never seen what you see." 

Clergue: " I am Mediterranean by birth.  What you see, I don't see.  I look at the details." 

This is how the evening went.

As we were leaving, my friend turned to me and said. "He is in amazing shape, must be all the red wine".  "No" I said, "It's photography.  It keeps you engaged with the world."

An edition of the extended catalogue is available as an IPad app.

Nov 14, 2011

Jigsaw Puzzle:
Daphne Guinness

Fashion Icons and Insiders
November 3 and November 4
The Honorable Daphne Guinness
in conversation with Dr. Valerie Steele

 My defense for buying an expensive pair of shoes has always been the same.  "It's a work of art."   I  feel compelled to own these magnificent creations, even though these days, I rarely get out of my blundstones. 
(Late Greek elkon, from Greek) a conventional religious image typically painted on a small wooden panel and used in the devotions of Eastern Christians.

Middle English, from Anglo-French muser
a guiding spirit
a source of inspiration

She says she is "not a muse," but more like "a bee"
flitting from one designer to another.
I couldn't attend the fashion symposium at FIT.  I asked a friend, who has no interest in fashion to go in my place.  His "report" of the conversation between Daphne Guinness and Valerie Steele, Chief Curator and Director of the Museum at FIT follows.  
Guinness is a fashion insider's dream.  Not only is she a collector; she is an artist.  Her art form is her fashion persona.  In amassing a huge collection, Guinness's purchases are based on the linkages she sees between fashion, art history and science. 
Those who are familiar with Guinness know she has a special interest in ARMOR.  Why? Steele asks.  "As a child, I was small;  I wanted something to hide behind.  I was fascinated by the Knights of the Roundtable and all the Arthurian legends.  I was always drawn to collections of armor in museums.  I love the workmanship.  I feel protected by wearing forms of armor."
For my friend, this fashionista experience left very little impact, except for these great photos. 
"I have to say there seemed to be no bullshit when Guinness was talking about herself."
Apparently Daphne Guinness is down to earth even on 10 inch platforms.
"I'll eat when I'm Dead"

Nov 6, 2011

Diamond in the Rough:

Copyright Peter Mauss.  No usage without permission.

Copyright Peter Mauss. 
No usage without permission.

September 2011
Tranekaer Internatinal
Center for
Art and Nature
Copyright Peter Mauss,  No usage without permission.
Where art and craft come together
is the line I like to walk in my work."  Dan Snow

Approaching the site of Diamond Mines,  you see a stone wall, but it's not a stone wall.  Surprise, fantasy, a cliche turned on its head is what I expect from a work by Dan Snow: unimaginable beauty conjured out of stone.

Diamond Mines is set in a beech grove about 1/2 mile walk through a woodland in Tranekaer, Denmark (TICKON Sculpture Park).  Among the vertical trunks of the trees and the fluctuating canopy of branches that filter the sunlight, the trapezoidal shape of Diamond Mines is a stark contrast.  The frame adheres to a strict geometry, while the inside appears random.

The inside spaces or cells resonate.  They captivate in the same way a spider web is endlessly fascinating.  They might be burial plots or spaces for ceremonial objects or abstract forms.  I enjoyed the endless mystery surrounding the piece.

"Before I built a wall I'd ask to know
What I was walling in or walling out,"
from Mending Wall
Robert Frost

I don't know what Dan Snow asks himself about what he is walling in or walling out.  I feel confident in saying he considers how a pile of ordinary stones can make a work of art.  And for me, he succeeds in that intention.

When I heard about Tickon, I imagined a place like Storm King in Upstate New York.  A sculpture park with large pieces spread out over the landscape surrounded by parkland.  Tickon has nothing in common with Storm King.  It is a wild place.  Unlike, the Danish landscape which is tidy, Tickon's heart is in the unfettered, open, and raw environment.  When I mentioned Tickon to a few Danes, each one made a particular point of talking about its setting.  The lack of cultivation and minimal tending.  It's a very unique Danish landscape.

"Tranekaer International Centre for Art and Nature is situated in the park around Tranekaer Castle.  The landscape-garden was put at disposal of the Center by Count Preben Ahlefeldt-Laurvig in 1990.  TICKON opened in the Slotspark in 1993 with 14 works by Danish and international artists.

Artists who create installations of structures in a forest or fields are presenting a gift to the landscape.  The work cannot be moved, sold or any other way absorbed into the system.  The artists must take weather and the changing seasons into account and the fate of each individual work is calling for continuous evaluation.  Introducing a work of art into nature is a way of making people notice the cycle of growth, struggle and decay.  The order of nature is a lack of order - and man-created works of art are part of this cycle.  Most of the artists working of TICKON see their role in an ecological and social perspective with transience being an integral part of the idea behind the works." from the brochure published by TICKON.

Herman Prigann
Chris Booth
Alfio Bonanno
David Nash
Lance Belanger
Jussi Heikkila
Jorn Ronnau
Dominique Bailly
Steven Siegel
Mikael Hansen
Karen McCoy
Alan Sonfist
Brit Smelvoer
Bror Westman
Lars Vilks
and now DAN SNOW

PLEASE NOTE:  All photos on this blog called A Diamond in the Rough:  Dan Snow are copyright Peter Mauss. All photographs of Dan Snow's work, Diamond Mines is original, copyrighted property of Peter Mauss and may not be reposted, reproduced or used in any way without prior written consent.  Please contact Phyllis Odessey for permission.  We appreciate your cooperation.

Nov 5, 2011

An Act of Sheer

A project organized by Socrates Sculpture Park
and the Architectural League.

Socrates Sculpture Park and the Architectural League invite emerging architects and designers to apply for the opportunity to build and exhibit a full-scale project around the theme of an architectural Folly.  The residency was established to explore the interaction between architecture and sculpture and the increasing overlaps in references, materials, and building techniques between the two disciplines.
Socrates and the League welcome proposals for full-scale projects and installations that explore contemporary interpretations of the architectural folly. 
By definition a fanciful architectural form, built to lend interest to a view or serve as a conversation piece, the folly is an ideal launching point for a dynamic exploration of architectural form and its relationship to sculpture.
The recipient will receive a $5,000 production grant towards realizing the proposed project.  The recipient will also have full access to the studio space and fabrication resources of Socrates Sculpture Park from May 2012 to July 2012.