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JOURNAL

In this article, AVAM's founder-director, Rebecca A. Hoffberger, who organized the exhibition, notes that it "proposes that we can either use technology to empower or to diminish what it means to be human. The choice, as the art and information on display suggest, is ours to make — and it’s one we have a responsibility to make wisely."
From the Zindato exhibition catalog: "Zindato’s ink-on-paper drawings offer eye-seducing vistas of imaginary worlds within worlds. They are mysterious, luscious and executed with the painstaking precision of expertly crafted jewels. About his drawings, the artist has observed: 'Each composition grows at its own pace, in its own way, organically.'”
From the Hyperallergic.com article: "[T]he album is a romp from its opening rave-up, 'Moonbeams,' which, after a poetic recitation backed by gentle birdsong, erupts into [Ono's] gasping yelps and a blast from the band, through 'Shine, Shine,' a hard-charging call for everyone to, well, shine. [...] Acorn invites readers to take part in collective imaginings. As the artist has often stated, 'A dream you dream alone is only a dream. A dream you dream together is reality.'"
 
   

25 February 2014

In New York, artist Yoko Ono presents the 2014 Courage Awards for the Arts

NEW YORK - First presented in 2009, Yoko Ono’s Courage Awards for the Arts are among the less well-known expressions of philanthropy and cultural activism for which the internationally famous multimedia artist, performer and peace activist has been recognized. Still, as Ono has said, it is an awards program whose mission and character resonate deeply with the artist herself. That’s because, Ono has observed, over the decades she has learned a thing or two about perseverance, struggle and striving to remain true to one’s creative vision, often in the face of harsh criticism, misunderstanding or rejection.

Above, left to right: Artist Yoko Ono presiding at the podium at the presentation of the 2014 Courage Awards for the Arts in New York this past Sunday, Feb. 24, 2014; Ono’s white top hat; performance artist Laurie Anderson, one of this year’s laureates, at the awards ceremony.. Photos by E.M.G.  

With such themes in mind, Ono’s Courage Awards acknowledge the achievements and the stick-to-itiveness of art-makers, music-makers, creative visionaries and determined champions of free expression, that indispensable, basic human right that allows creativity to flow. Past recipients of the awards have included, among others, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange; the feminist artist, writer and activist, Kate Millett; composer-performer Meredith Monk; the Guerrilla Girls; composer-performers La Monte Young and Marian Zazeela; and the 19th-century writer Émile Zola. (In fact, PEN American Center, the organization that supports writers and freedom of expression, picked up Zola’s 2010 award for him in that long-deceased author’s name.) Each award consists of a framed certificate and a check in the amount of $25,000.00.

Speaking to a gathering of guests that included Patti Smith, composer and WNYC-FM radio-program host David Garland (“Spinning on Air”), artist and Franklin Furnace Archive founder Martha Wilson (a 2012 Courage Award laureate), museum curators and other art-world figures, Ono presented the 2014 Courage Awards for the Arts to performance artist-musician Laurie Anderson; the Vienna-based, Austrian artist Valie Export; the British singer-actress Marianne Faithfull; and the London-based artist Gustav Metzger, who is most often associated with “auto-destructive” art.

More... (Click here to open a PDF containing full news report.)

Posted by E.M.G.

11 December 2013

In Japan, a Scottish artist creates fantasy worlds (on some very large sheets of paper)

Click here for the website of The Container, the Tokyo gallery that represents artist Jack McLean.

6 November 2013

In Tokyo, a self-taught artist celebrates the human spirit in intricate, abstract drawings

TOKYO—In Japan, the 67-year-old, self-taught artist Hiroyuki Doi, a former master chef who worked in some of Tokyo’s top restaurants, has been making abstract drawings in ink on paper for several decades. Since his art first emerged on the international scene in a solo exhibition at the now-closed Phyllis Kind Gallery in New York in 2002, Doi’s compositions, which are made up of little more than dense groupings of tiny black circles, have become increasingly complex in form and ever more expansive in the themes they have addressed.

Doi has observed that, for him, “using circles to produce images has provided soothing relief from the sadness and grief” he has felt since the death, many years ago, of his youngest brother from a brain tumor. Since then, Doi has created works that have alluded, as he puts it, to such themes as “the transmigration of the soul, the cosmos, the coexistence of living creatures, human cells, human dialog and peace.”

He feels strongly about art that reveals the touch of its maker’s hand; he believes the most soulful, expressive artworks let viewers know they were made by fellow humans, not by machines. Doi told me: “I want to create works that will convey to future generations a message about the importance of this human touch.”

To create his drawings, Doi uses a kind of Pilot brand pen that is manufactured and marketed only in Japan. Its .005 milimeter, polyacetal tip keeps its shape and, unlike a felt-tip pen, does not dry out. It dispenses black, oil-based ink smoothly until its last drop. Doi draws on Japanese washi, or handmade paper, which can be produced using various ingredients. Doi has used washi made with fibers from the bark of such shrubs or trees as the kouzo (the paper mulberry), the ganpi and the mitsumata.

Now, with “Hiroyuki Doi: Pen & Art,” a mini-retrospective of his small and large drawings of recent years at Pen Station Museum (near Kyobashi subway station in Tokyo; on view through December 20), Japanese viewers have an opportunity to get to know the work of an artist who has become better known overseas.

My article about Doi’s drawings and his current exhibition at Pilot Pen Station, an art space operated by the Pilot Pen Corporation, has been published in the November 6, 2013 edition of The Japan Times/International New York Times. Find the text of the article, with photos, here, on the newspaper’s website.

Posted by E.M.G.

Photos at left, top to bottom: Doi at work in his studio in Tokyo; one of the artist's untitled abstractions; Edward shooting a photo of the artist at his current exhibition at Pilot Pen Station; a view of some works in the show. All photos by E.M.G. except second from top, courtesy of Ricco/Maresca, New York.

 

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"Vernacular photography" is the term that's being used nowadays to refer to photos whose creators and, sometimes, whose intended purposes are unknown. It's also the name of a hot collecting category. My article about this field and some of the leading collectors of these unusual, often dramatic images was published in the December 2011/January 2012 issue of Art & Antiques (U.S.A.). See it here. A PDF will take a few seconds to open and download.

My article about the legendary, British-born surrealist artist Leonora Carrington, who died in Mexico City in May 2011, was published in the September 2011 issue of Art & Antiques (U.S.A.). I was one of the last foreign visitors to meet with the reclusive artist at her home in the Mexican capital before she died. See the article here in the form of a PDF. It will take a few seconds to download and open.

Now available: My essay, "Nostalgia for the Future," about the American painter Stephanie Brody-Lederman, in a limited-edition chapbook published by Ballena Studio.

To order a copy, send a check or money order for U.S.A.$6.00 (U.S.A.$7.00 for orders outside the United States) to: Edward M. Gómez, P.O. Box 7339, J.A.F. Station, New York NY 10116-7339 U.S.A.

My article about an interesting discussion that is now going on in the field of outsider/self-taught artists' art has been published in the February 2011 issue of Art & Antiques(U.S.A.). The debate focuses on this question: Should there even be a distinction of categories between art made by academically trained, "professional" artists and art that is created by self-taught art-makers? Here is the complete Art & Antiques article in PDF form.

My article about the Japanese modern artist Takesada Matsutani, pegged to his recent museum exhibition in Kamakura, Japan, has been published in the May 2010 issue of Art in America. (See my 7 February 2010 "Journal" item for information about this artist and his recent exhibitions in Japan.) Matsutani, who has been based in Paris since the late 1960s, was a member of the so-called second generation of the post-World War II Gutai group of prototypical performance and abstract-expressionist artists in Japan. Here is the complete Art in America article in PDF form.

My interview with the artist Aurora Robson was published in the October 2009 issue of Art in America. In it, the Brooklyn-based, Canadian creator of paintings and mixed-media collages, and of sculptures made from cast-off plastic bottles, talks about her philosophy of art-making and the techniques she employs. Of special interest: Robson's environmentalist outlook and how she puts her save-the-planet values into practice as an artist and teacher. Read the article here. A PDF will open.