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Showing posts from 2011

Meditation on Ana Mendieta

Number 93 in this series returns to the subject of Ana Mendieta, about whom I talked in my last post for Hyperallergic.
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In the Studio: Day 79

I was really hoping that I would get 100 full days in the studio this year, but evidently could only make 79. I did lots of art-related activity outside the studio, of course: the Lucerne Project; the Urbana public art project; writing for Hyperallergic; writing this blog.

Anyway, on my last studio of 2011, I started adding some of those acrylic collage shapes (dots, in this case) to a drawing/painting on paper that was a mixture of watercolour, acrylic paint, and airbrush pigment:


Nice, n'est ce pas? Let's see if I can make my mind up about all this in 2012.

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Praeterita Interviewees Interactive Map

View Praeterita Interviewees in a larger map

Here is a Google Map that I've created, showing the locations of all the artists and writers I've interviewed on this blog in the last two years. Each push-pin locator also has a link to that person's interview.

I intend to add other things to this map, starting with photos of the artists' work.

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A Place, a Person, a Name

I was going through a folder of photos that I took during a summer that I spent in Prague in 2007, when this one caught my eye. Prague is one of the most beautiful cities in Europe, with its medieval castles, old monasteries, maze-like central streets with no logical pattern to them, churches with eastern-looking onion domes, red-tiled roofs that spread out like a sea of terracotta when seen from above. Maybe I took this picture because it didn’t fit with that mental image I have of Prague, because it’s so ordinary, untidy, even dirty. On its own, it could stand as a suitable alternative to the picture-postcard view of the ancient city. If you look closely, you can see laundry hanging from windows, and weeds growing up between the cobblestones in the yard. It was the middle of the day, but the young woman lounging on the chair has the look of someone who has been sitting there for a while, with nothing to do. Maybe she had many days like this, to go by the look in her eyes. The chair …

In the Studio: Day 78

Playing with more dried acrylic collage shapes:


Some time after Christmas, I will probably have a new phone with a camera that's better than 1.5 megapixels.

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Meditation on Caravaggio's 'The Taking of Christ'

Number 91 in this series is about colour and eyes.

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A Student Wrote to Me ...

... and told me something very gratifying to me personally. He said that he took one of the stories that he started writing in the Story in Fiction and Film class that I taught this semester, and turned it into the following fake movie trailer. He shot it last weekend with the help of friends and peers (he's a Film and Video major). His name is Noah Kloor - remember his name when the 2015 Oscars (or thereabouts) come along.


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In the Studio: Day 77

I'm arranging all the acrylic collage shapes into one giant mega-collage, and thinking next about gluing them onto a panel or canvas (click the image to see larger version):


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Interview with artist-writer-artist Lynn Shapiro

Lynn Shapiro has a fascinating resumé: Juilliard-trained professional dancer, drama coach, writer of fiction, writer of a column for "Dance" magazine, and lately a maker of artist's books. She is also one of my colleagues at Columbia College Chicago, and she is just one of the loveliest people you could ever hope to meet. I started the interview by going back to the beginning of her career.


PH: How did you first become involved with dance?
LS: My father was an avid dancer. In fact the whole family, led by my grandmother, would often play popular records and dance together in the living room after dinner. Their favorites were Artie Shaw, Benny Goodman, Glen Miller, and various calypso tunes.
I loved dancing with my dad. Every night, when he’d come home from work, before dinner or anything else, we’d play my favorite song, what I called “Fernando’s Hideaway,”  and dance together, my little feet riding on top of his shoes.
He and my mom loved classical music—opera and symphon…

Happy Birthday, Beethoven

It's the anniversary of Beethoven's birthday today. The local classical station is having a Beethoven day, but so far I haven't heard this, one of my favourite piecse of music: The Kreutzer Sonata (Sonata for Violin and Piano in A Major, No, 9). This is the beginning of the second movement, the variations, played by Martha Argerich and Gidon Kremer:



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Tyler Green interviews De Kooning's biographer

The MAN Podcast: Mark Stevens on de Kooning:




On critic Tyler Green's blog, a podcast interview with biographer and critic Mark Stevens, a renowned expert on the life and art of Willem de Kooning. He co-authored one of my favourite artist biographies, "De Kooning: An American Master." Follow the link for the article and the podcast.

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Curator goes bonkers at Art Institute

I was at the Art Institute of Chicago yesterday, standing in a room with a Phillip Guston painting on each wall. I gradually became aware of a man shouting on the other side of a partition. You couldn't walk into the space, because they had placed a low barrier to allow staff to enter the space and also to signal to museum visitors that they were to keep out. But this meant that the conversation could be clearly heard right across the gallery. And when I peeped around the partition, I saw a curator (he was the one with the oversized black rimmed glasses) and two installers in blue  overcoats. They were standing in front of a series of framed photos by Christian Boltanski, which looked very like this (may even have been this):


The curator was tearing the flesh off the installers, metaphorically speaking. I heard him shouting: "Come on, Matt, I told you  and you just didn't listen. You can see that they'e not straight, man, you don't need a spirit level to see this…

In the Studio: Day 76

I'm wrestling with lots of different things from the last five years, trying to tie them all together in one common idea.

My difficulty is that there's a lot of different pieces in different media. I'm thinking of this:


And this:

And this:


And this:


Not to mention this:


I'm trusting that putting them together and taking them out of storage in the studio, just like putting them side by side on this blog, will help me see the path here.

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In the Studio: Day 75

I'm sorting all the dried shapes that I created from acrylic paint and gels over the last few months, to form squiggly collages:


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Meditation on a painting by Vermeer

Meditation/vlog/web-talk/video (what exactly is the correct terminology anyway?) number 91 harkens back to my visit to Ireland, nearly two years ago.
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The Seeking Kali Collective

The Seeking Kali Collective is three artists: Ria Vanden Eynde, from Belgium; Susan Shulman, from Canada; and William Evertson, from the United States. Their collaboration came about via a conversation on Facebook. After discovering their common interest in the mythology of Kali – the Indian goddess of primal female energy and destruction – they embarked on an intercontinental exploration of the imagery and meanings of Kali, sharing their work back and forth via social media. To date, their collaboration has taken the form of a blog, mail art, videos, performances, two-dimensional work in many media, a portfolio of prints, group exhibitions, and most recently a ‘zine. Imagery from the project has also been displayed on billboards across the USA, as part of a project that turns giant digital LED displays next to freeways into 24 hour art venues. I can't really speak about the religious significance of the Kali myth, which I only know about generally. Personally, I was inoculated aga…

In the Studio: Day 74

Among other things, I drew this small picture using NeoColor water soluble pastels. I don't know why I did it, and I don't know what it is. But I thought I would post something with pretty colours, for once.

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The Art Channel ...

... is the You Tube channel where I store all the Meditations on Art. It's currently getting about 500 views every day, and it also has a new look thanks to Google's redesign:
hartigap's Channel - YouTube:

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In the Studio: Day 73

I spent a productive and enjoyable few hours inking and printing those a-LOO-minnum plates that I worked on during my last studio day.

The final print looked like this:


The carborundum areas and the drypoint marks printed equally well with a blue-black mixture of etching ink. As I said before, I had to divide the image across 12 plates, and print them 2 at a time. The total size is 16" x 18". When the paper dries, I'll trim the individual pages and glue them together.

Here is a little album I made of the whole process:


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Interview with London artist Dragica Janketic Carlin

Dragica (pronounced "Drag-ee-ta") Janketic-Carlin is a Croatian painter who lives and works in London. I was fortunate enough to visit her studio in Hackney a few weeks ago, and record a long interview about her life and her work, surrounded by her large abstract paintings. What follows, though long for a blog post, is an edited version of the transcript.


PH: How would you describe your work?
DJC: It’s about creating the texture and trying to create the space by minimal means and getting into the perspective of the colours. It’s about movement and application of paint. That relationship between mark making and colour makes the painting alive and vibrant.


PH: The first thing I notice when I look at all of your work is the gesture, of the hand, the arm, the wrist. That seems to be the basis of all the paintings.
DJC: Yes that’s right. I like to get physically involved in my work. It’s almost like a performance when I paint. The moment I get equilibrium between my mind and my hand,…