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Meow Wolf’s new Denver development is urban predation in sheep’s clothing.

DENVER, COLO- Alternatively, Santa Fe alt-art venue Meow Wolf is URBAN DEVELOPMENT IN CAT'S CLOTHING. Here's the scam: Laud an arts collective of "creative types". Let them pitch an arts space project to city planners for which you'll supply the ownership investment. Let their non-profit creative-class cred prompt city leaders to provide otherwise unavailable land and the tax incentives and exclusions which come to cultural projects. Let them lead community fundraising to support art etc etc. You buy the land, you own the building, and you give them a 20-year lease. Their rent is subsidized by more community and city support. Cha-ching. 52043

George Seurat’s afternoon on an island

CHICAGO- What's in a name? I expect its originator could explain. Do art collectors or curators have final edit over a famous painting's title? I can understand the Art Institute of Chicago nicknaming its familiar La Grande Jatte, but the first paragraph of the painting's gallery description has to explain that the iconic riverbank scene is named not for a tributary, but an island on the river Seine, because their slimmed translation of its full title now reads "A Sunday on La Grande Jatte" à la Sunday in the Park with George. Gone are afternoon and island from Un dimanche après-midi sur l'Île de la Grande Jatte --you wonder why bother to keep "la"? I remember the original full English title from art history textbooks, whose color plates now seem like a greatest hits album of the Art Institute's collection. Did Chicago corner the market on Impressionist masterpieces, or did their image licenses determine which we're taught are representative? Reframing painting titles suggests to me there's more likelihood of the latter. Does great art jump out at you intuitively? I doubt we even know what we like. 34008

From our Colorado Springs antiwar art show: Have your cake, now eat it.

The Occupy Wall Street NO COMMENT art show reminded me of the antiwar gallery exhibit we featured at our own peace encampment in 2005. Among my favorite pieces was an interactive self-performance piece called HAVE YOUR CAKE, which featured a festive party table adorned with a sheet cake whose icing featured the likeness of a wounded Iraqi boy, into whom attendees had to cut to have a slice. Of course, no takers.

ACLU and Shepard Fairey drape Lady Liberty in nationalism & jingo-freedom

Is "Freedom" the same thing as Liberty? Let's see, ACFU? It has an unfriendly ring to it.   The American Civil Liberties Union commissioned this fundraising magnet from halftone-deaf one-note Obamartist Shepard Fairey, but somebody confused this for a Department Of Defense contract. "Leading Freedom Forward"? That's USA's imperialist catchphrase! Please note at the helm is Fairey's first client: Obama. 25129

The future of photography is time

I know little about fine art photography, darkroom craft or print collecting, but I will foolishly assert this: the future of the two dimensional print is the time-dimensional print. It's only with the evolution of high definition that I dare say it, video. THE FUTURE OF 2D IS NOT 3D IT'S 4D. (Actually 3-D is a tech injected myopia, by 4D I mean two dimensions plus time plus sound) I do know that photo technology for everyman has breached the fourth dimension, mounted paper prints are a throwback for older generations like mine, who think of the past in terms of stills. Before us it was black and white. Moving picture snap shots are no gimmick. Purists can mourn losing the split-second frozen in time, but who can argue that elapsed time does not add an infinity of fractions more? Yes color film lost the contrast of monochrome, just as paint left the shading of charcoal. Movies have long since eclipsed slide shows and now it's time that single-frame photographers step up to digital video, same fixed shot, same composition, time exposure set to however long will hold the viewer's gaze. Soon online videos will embed as smoothly as static

Muddy wellies across white canvas

Norway prides itself on its ubiquitous and egalitarian middle class, making of its opera house a celebration of folkstheatre –and it’s no empty boast– Oslo newspapers address eight pages to culture versus one to sport. But I think the architects behind the glacier-slopped Oslo Opera House have struck with typical condescending Nordic sarcasm. Here is an in-edifice to high art on which the people can trod, on every last angle. Even if Scandinavian farmers are not inclined to attend opera performances, they can sight-see from the pretentious exterior. Idealists can assert this art reaches the Hoi Poloi, as it compels visitors to put it all underfoot. It's form over substance, literally. The result presents aimless booted peasants looking like they wouldn’t know art if they stepped on it. 20187

Americans upset by viral Single Ladies video don’t know their ass from TandA

You thought ours was an oversexed culture obsessed with youth, but the recent furor over a viral video shows Americans don't know their ass from their T & A.   Obviously everyone is aghast about too-young dancers gyrating to Beyonce's SINGLE LADIES, but I think it says something hilarious about our ineptitude with sexuality. Like the mess of clueless philistines weighing in, I too am inexpert at what titillates about 7-year-olds, and it's not going to stop me either. 16958

Gravity was everywhere back then

NYC- Brent's first feature film, Gravity Was Everywhere Back Then premiered at Manhattan's IFC Center this weekend and runs until Thursday May 13. Catch screenings at 3:30 and 7:30 daily. Production artifacts are on view at concurrent gallery exhibits: the Andrew Edlin Gallery in Chelsea until June, and the Berkeley Art Museum, CA, until September. See the NYT review (!!!), read the production blog. Interview below: 16707

Money laundering record set in fine art

Curiously, you and I can't transfer $250.-- without the requisite agencies being notified, but an oligarch can spend $104.3 Million on Alberto Giacometti's Walking Man I and maintain anonymity. (For an iconic sculpture of a figure divested of possessions.) We can't take shampoo into the airport, but foreign intelligence operatives can cross borders and assassinate it-doesn't-matter-who without leaving a trace. Exactly whom is INTERPOL tracking or not tracking? For us there's a no-fly list. For the 007s and 000,000,007s there's a can-fly-with-impunity first class lounge.

Can art rehabilitate a parking meter?

It's become another art medium in itself. Like oil, watercolor, and macaroni sprayed gold, we now have painted industrial objects. I've seen fiberglass cows, pigs, and elk cast to provide uniform canvases for ensemble-scale kitsch. Colorado Springs is probably not the first municipality to recycle obsolete parking meters as art pieces. The scheme is actually fairly clever: scatter beautified meters around retail areas to collect spare change "for the homeless," to scoop the tug of panhandlers who may have less responsible designs on charitable donations.   My favorite is a meter painted like a Muslim imam, with the time-expired flag made to be a cry for help showing through his clear forehead. 12215

Public art to make you feel Lilliputian

COLORADO SPRINGS- I confess to being reminded regularly of a clip from Michael Moore's movie Capitalism a Love Story. It's the mock tourism video ad selling Cleveland: We're not Detroit. The punch line accompanying this shot is "we think this is art." Of course I'm reminded because our city too has a collection of these big little things dropped on lawns where you might expect a sculpture. Giant paperclips, marble engagement rings, are feats of logistic craftsmanship certainly, but where in the Parks & Rec shopping catalogs do they warrant a listing in the index under art? 11470

Life, Love, Liberty and Lunch

I thought the advent of Youtube would finally lead me to the script for a TV special of the late 70s called Life, Love, Liberty and Lunch. I can find only scant trace of it online. And so I will post sans link. 2650

Jason Zacharias

"You must either make a tool of the creature, or a man of him. You cannot make both." --John Ruskin, 1853, The Stones of Venice-- "Men were not intended to work with the accuracy of tools, to be precise and perfect in all their actions. If you will have that precision out of them, and make their fingers measure degrees like cog-wheels, and their arms strike curves like compasses, you must unhumanize them. All the energy of their spirits must be given to make cogs and compasses of themselves….On the other hand, if you will make a man of the working creature, you cannot make him a tool. Let him but begin to imagine, to think, to try to do anything worth doing; and the engine-turned precision is lost at once. Out come all his roughness, all his dulness, all his incapability; shame upon shame, failure upon failure, pause after pause: but out comes the whole majesty of him also; and we know the height of it only when we see the clouds settling upon him."

Artist Stephen Morath eyes Second Base

The painting drew our eyes as we ate in the Eastside Del Taco. Among many gaily colored prints by the same artist was this pop-ish depiction of what could only be the Spanish Peaks. Southwest-scapes are ubiquitous enough to seem completely generic, and Pikes Peak belongs to America the Beautiful, but the Wahatoya are our private purple majesties. Did a stranger conjure these breast-peaks to pair with another iconic fixation, the red pickup truck, or was this uncharacteristic fast-food outlet choosing to showcase a local talent? Neither. 7454

Hummel volunteers were unfit for Nazis

Godmother Superior of kitsch, Maria Innocentia Hummel, intended her “Volunteers” to be a plea for peace. The forlorn would-be soldiers were an insult to Hitler, but a half century later, the United States would pervert Hummel’s satire and enlist the little boys into the war against Iraq.

Ask Palin to take her COS fans with her

MONDAY NOV. 3RD brings another chance to see Sarah Palin. Can we pray it please be the last? Palin will hold court to the Colorado Springs' Holy War freaks in the same private airplane hanger she used before, so that her campaign can splice footage from the previous rally. Jet Center Aviation, 1575 Aviation Way. Event starts at 5:15pm, doors open at 3:30pm. (Meet outside earlier.) Let's bid them ALL best success with their God/guns/greed elsewhere. 5354

Pope says, ‘Piss in the jar, Please.’

New scientific 'advances' are being made by God these days! The Pope has just ordered that all priest applicants must now pass psycho-illogical profiling tests! The BBC reports that wannabe Priests to face 'sex drive tests' What next? Peeing in the cup? Lie detector tests for archbishops of the Liberation Theology category? 5308

Intestinal design

      Can you figure out what this is? Look closely and think, think, think. This particular item has been singled out of thousands of similar items for Best Design honors.   Check out my blog at Culture Chakra for more juicy tidbits.

Springs Culture Cast has party for Craig Richardson and Klayton Elliot Kendall of Springs Culture Cast

The Smokebrush is feting the first anniversary of the Springs Culture Cast enterprise on Thursday night. I love the work Craig and Klayton are doing to illuminate our city's culture scene. Every weekday the two assemble a four minute segment on local arts. I especially like when their delivery swerves into the theatrical, but I can't laugh forever at their sledgehammer self-promotion. 2711

Ancient Costa Rica for sale

The kids are still on Christmas break and are starting to show definite signs of cabin fever. To stave off a domestic implosion, we took a trip up to the Denver Art Museum yesterday. The DAM recently opened a spectacular addition designed by Daniel Libeskind, the architect chosen to rebuild the World Trade Center site. But I had an ulterior motive. I'd recently read about the DAMs 16,000-piece assemblage of pre-Columbian and Spanish Colonial art, including one of the world's largest collections of Costa Rican artifacts, nearly 2,000 items, donated to the museum by Denver businessman, Frederick Mayer, and his wife. I wanted to check it out. 2408

In defense of Ralph Routon

Ralph Routon's recent diatribe in the Indy about the impending departure of Michael DeMarsche was lame. But you have to understand. Having Ralph write about the arts is akin to having John Waters write about the Superbowl. You can only imagine how funny that would be. To us. But not to sports fans. You might as well call Jesus a homo or spit on an Indian before you sully such sacred land. 1677

No hope

This painting is called Me and Dad with captives. No explanation proffered. It's by New Mexico artist Jason Godeke as part of a series about inhumanity. 1670

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