Is Norman Rockwell Really That Interesting? Maybe?

August 6, 2010 · Print This Article

Norman Rockwell brought to you by Luacs & SpielbergArt = ((Money + Love)* Infatuation) its a equation we all know and like gravity you ignore it at your own peril. Everyone advocates for what they love or to be more mercenary, what they have invested money in and we all live in the shadow of that fact. The Economics of Art is much the same as everything else just tweaked a bit more. This is nothing new to anyone that has been in the Art world for any length but sometimes is worth restating.

Norman Rockwell plays into that fact neatly and had been promoted and actively shoehorned into the modern art cannon discussion with increasing persistence starting in the mid 90’s and continuing today. Nothing wrong with that, its the active debate that keeps the art world fresh and acts as oxygen sometimes when the fishbowl we live in starts to be a tad hypoxic.

Right now George Lucas & Steven Spielberg have loaned their collection to the Smithsonian American Art Museum to be on display from July 2nd to January 2nd. Most of the time anything having to do with Lucas or Spielberg I would not mention since I largely view the quality of their work to be in a holding pattern and their grip on contemporary anything to be a bit loose but the video brought to you again from Art Babble for the first time makes a semi cogent argument for Rockwell’s inclusion in the larger discussion on modern art.

The video is well worth your time if for no other reason then to see some lesser know works of Rockwell’s and get a feel for the body of work from a cinematic point of view. Some of it was very interesting even to a jaded individual as myself and when I am in DC next week will actually go out of my way to see their collection in person among other higher priorities.


Hooked On Vuvuzela Or Vuvuzela Takes On The Classics Of Cinema

July 16, 2010 · Print This Article

The Vuvuzela, a little know horn to Americans before the latest world cup and I would not hesitate to say little loved does it’s best to add to the rich tapestry that is cinema scores.

Will Hans Zimmer add it to his repertoire? Will it go the way of the kazoo and bird whistle or like the theremin will it find a place in our hearts?

Only time will tell, time and a Costco sized bottle of aspirin.

Oscar Award Winning Full Length Film “Logorama” Online

May 24, 2010 · Print This Article

As soon as Logorama won the 2010 Academy Award for Best Short Film, Animated multiple attempts were made to publicize it online in it’s entirety. Each one was quickly brought down with DMCA requests in short order. Now it seems either enough time has passed and no one cares or composer Marc Altshuler has clearance where others didnt but for the time being Logorama is availiable online in it’s full 16 minute length on his Vimeo account, so enjoy.

If you haven’t heard of Logorama it is basically the film Quentin Tarantino & Roland Emmerich would co-direct in the nightmares of a Trademark Attorney. A crude, violent, self aware, disaster  film that relishes using any and every Corporate Brand possible to make farce. Enjoy while it lasts.

In Mini News: The 2010 Turner Prize short list has been announced almost all of the artists nominated who are suposed to be “promoting public discussion of new developments in contemporary British art” are oddly just a few years shy of the 49 year old age cutoff? Weird choices this year it seems. Time to start the Culture World’s Office Pools.

REVIEW: Suitable Video – Volume 1

May 19, 2010 · Print This Article

Scott Wolniak was the proprietor of Suitable, an alternative (garage) space in Humboldt Park, from 1999-2004. He started the space after receiving his MFA from the University of Illinois at Chicago and ended it when the roof collapsed. The goal of Suitable was to provide young Chicago artists with an opportunity to show their work. Recently, Wolniak curated a show at Western Exhibitions consisting of videos that had been seen years earlier at Suitable. In conjunction with the exhibition, Suitable Video, Wolniak released a limited edition compilation of the works under the same name. Suitable Video: Volume 1 has a run-time of about an hour and includes work from Charles Irvin, Julia Hechtman, Sterling Ruby, John Neff, Kirsten Stoltmann, Marc Schwartzberg, Paul Nudd, Reed Anderson & Daniel Davidson, Sarah Conway, Miller and Shellabarger, Ben Stone, and Siebren Versteeg.

A still from Paul Nudd's Wurmburth

Sterling Ruby’s contribution, Cook, is a one minute montage that combines several documentary-style sequences of clandestine meth labs while a distorted voice over repeats, “I’m a chemist, I’m a cooker, I’m a manufacturer, and a distributor. I’ll do whatever the fuck I want in the privacy of my own home.” The phrase is oddly catchy and I found myself singing it throughout the day. Paul Nudd’s Wurmburth also stuck with me, out of disgust, it’s really gross. I said this to a friend and she asked “Gross-sexual or gross-dirty?” For three minutes an amorphous phallus goes in and out of various neon green caverns, while smoke, mucus, and spit ooze out. It’s both dirty and sexual. The piece I enjoyed most was Untitled (Nixon/HAL) by John Neff. In it a man gives two monologues against a solid blue background. The first is a statement that was prepared for President Nixon in the event of a moon disaster and the second is HAL’s final monologue from 2001: A Space Odyssey. The melodrama and humanity of the texts are rendered emotionless by their messengers, creating an amusing tension.

I was a film student at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and I recognized a few of the pieces from my video classes. During my senior year of college I wouldn’t have considered Sterling Ruby young, Chicago-based, or in need of exhibition opportunities. When I saw these works at school they were presented out of context, completely removed from the community that is very apparent when I watch the Suitable Video anthology. “There is no thematic or conceptual agenda,” Wolniak acknowledges in his curator’s note. “There is a tangible sense of utility in much of the work– they do not seem fussed over, they communicate directly.” Unfussy, direct communication is a fitting theme for a compilation meant to encapsulate the efforts of a DIY exhibition space. These type of spaces pop up when a group of artists, with the help of their most entrepreneurial peers, need the most immediate way to connect with an audience. Alternative spaces stop being effective once they fulfill that need and when they close their doors, they take that history with them. Last year’s Artists Run Chicago at the Hyde Park Art Center was one way of telling the history of alternative spaces, Suitable Video is another.

Suitable Video: Volume 1 is available at Golden Age in Chicago.

Bad at Sports Credits Animation

April 14, 2010 · Print This Article

As part of the Apexart Gallery show “Don’t Piss On My Leg & Tell Me It’s Raining” by Bad at Sports a animated credits crawl done in the style of the late great Saul Bass was created by Christopher Hudgens to showcase the spirit and members of Bad at Sports that make all of it possible. Thanks to everyone that came and enjoy.