Thursday, October 30, 2008

A Hard Knock-Off Life With a Warhol

Warhol is huge in the U.S. His Jackies, Edies, and Elvises are our country's Mona Lisa's to France. One would only expect the demand for an original Warhol would be high, not to mention the nice price tag along with them. But just as Andy Warhol is one of the most famous painters in the U.S., he is also one of the most faked. Because Warhol used production methods of “mechanized” art, utilizing employees for help, it is easy for forgers to start with the photographs and create silkscreens similar to the originals. In an effort to protect his legacy, in 1995, the Andy Warhol Foundation established the Andy Warhol Art Authentication Board. Since its inception, more than 3,000 Warhol works have been submitted. To date, the board has rejected about 10 to 15 percent of the works as inauthentic.

As convenient as this board may sound, it's caused quite some controversy. Number one, the board never gives a reason for denial. This leaves those rejected with no direction as to what to do with this work of art they could have potentially spent loads of money on, sort of like a 25 year old woman on the streets of Milan after buying a fake Fendi handbag and the strap breaks. In particular, there is one rejected man, who really doesn't agree with the board, and he's not about to give up.

Joe Simon, a British film producer purchase a Warhol self-portrait painting in 1989 for $195,000. The image is a stark, black-and-white image on a bright orange-red ground, and had been authenticated by Warhol factotum Frederick Hughes. In 2006, he hit a huge payoff when he was planning to sell the piece for a cool 2 million, under the condition he would submit the piece to the Authentication Board. The dealer convinced Simon this would only be beneficial as the piece would then be included in the catalog raisone, which is the mission project of the Andy Warhol Foundation. Simon was confident as the authenticity had previously been confirmed by a member of the foundation. Bad news for Simon: REJECTED, and the value was decreased significantly. As you can only imagine, Simon was ready to fight, and filed a $120-million lawsuit against the Warhol board in July 2007.
The fight is still not over today, it's just getting started. An interesting story like this deserve a web-site and Simon has that task down pat. His web-site,, provides extensive information about his battle with the Board, articles, the evidence and the ability to download the piece for your own display. Talk about rallying the troops.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Taking a walk on the wild side of Delaware.

It's only the end of October as we're reaching the opening of Edward Grant next week and I'm already working on our next exhibition Biggs Shot opening in March of 09, a juried photography exhibition. Photography, to me, is one of the most engaging and impactful medias used in art today. It's fascinating how general public are drawn to photography, perhaps it is because of how real it is. It's not A reflection of something, it's THE reflection of something. Although our photog fun doesn't get rolling until December (when entries begin to be accepted), there is some exciting photog news to report from our area. You may or may not have heard of him, but chances are you've picked up one of his "coffee-table" books at a friend's home killing time til the food's ready browsing beautiful Delaware scenes. His name is Kevin Fleming, and he's awesome.

Kevin Fleming, a Delaware Native and Wesley College Graduate, has traveled all over the world shooting for National Geographic. In recent years, he's focused on creating books, some of which have focused on Delaware landscape. Looking at his background, his next book, Wild Delaware, is comprehensive of his character. Fleming has spent the past year shooting thousands and thousands of Delaware wildlife. Throw in essays by local wildlife experts and you've got yourself a snazzy 240 page publication.

Fleming fans were able to follow his year-long journey on his blog, which gave sneak peaks at shots in the book and even allowed Fleming followers to choose the cover. Dragonflies, raccoons, owls, snakes, crabs, and geese galor, this book is sure to fly off the shelves. And it's perfect timing, because Christmas is just around the corner.....

Wild Delaware will hit shelves on November 1st. images from

Thursday, October 23, 2008

I'm Meltingggggg

Reading this subject line may have already brought you to the Wizard of Oz, but I'm not about discuss a witch but am going to refer to something else melting in our world that is quite wicked these days: the economy.

You may or may not be aware, but October 29th, next Wednesday, is the anniversary of Black Tuesday, the stock market crash that caused the Great Depression in 1929. On this day next week, artists Nora Ligorano and Marshall Reese (also known as Ligorano/Reese) are going to meltdown the "Economy", literally.

This new time based event, title Main Street Meltdown, Ligorano/Reese will install the word “Economy,” carved in ice, in Foley Square, using the New York Supreme Court as a back drop.
And this is not your standard country club wedding swan ice sculpture, measuring at 15 feet long, 5 feet tall, and weighing almost 1,500 pounds. As a temporary monument, Ligorano/Reese estimated the piece will take anywhere between 10 & 24 hours to melt.
This will be Ligorano/Reese's fourth series of ice sculptures dealing with political issues. Earlier sculptures included "Democracy" during the Democratic and Republican Conventions in Denver and St. Paul. Next week's sculpture will be close to the heart of Wall Street, as to symbolize the current financial crisis. Ligorano/Reese claims this sculpture “metaphorically captures the results of unregulated markets on the U.S. economy.”

This is quite an interesting way of mixing business with art and I think Ligorano/Reese are creating an impactful visual of the current state of our economy. However, as a overtly superstitious person, wouldn't you not want to jinx it by displaying a meltdown on the meltdown anniversary?

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Boo! Vote your favorite spooky art!

I've been thinking of ideas to incorporate Halloween on the blog. Judging by our full-registration for the Pumpkin Decorating this Saturday, there are quite a few mixers of Halloween and Art out there. However, it seems Art Blog by Bob has beat me to the best idea on his monthly poll!

Bob's October poll topic is spooky art! Visit his blog to vote on which piece of art you think is spookiest. You can vote on the main page of his blog, however to see the different pieces, visit the entry.

The Race Track (Death on a Pale Horse) by Albert Pinkham Ryder gives me the most creeps...

But as a Delawarean, I'm partial to Andrew Wyeth's Jack Be Nimble. You can't really resist a jack o'lantern can't you?

Monday, October 20, 2008

Chanello! Mobile Art

What do you think of when you hear "Chanel"? The two C's logo right? What do you think of when you hear the words, "Chanel Purse"? The quilted chain strap purse most likely.

Well Mr. Karl Lagerfield must think a majority of the public to consider the quilted chain strap purse to be synonymous with Chanel when he came up with his most recent project Chanel Mobile Art. Karl took the idea that fashion spreads throughout the world and personally commissioned architect, Zaha-Hadid, to design a collapsible pod that could travel to each continent to showcase the exhibit. This futuristic structure is called the Art Container and will host 20 contemporary artists' work inspired by Chanel’s classic 2.55 quilted-style chain handbag.

So far, the pod has been to Tokyo and Hong Kong. Lucky for us Americans, Chanel has landed, right in the middle of Central Park. Opening today, free of charge (however, you must book a timed ticket!) anyone in the area can see these fantastic interpretations of the quilted handbag as a cultural icon. It will be here only until November 9th, before the pod collapses again and heads off to London.

So does fashion inspire art? Or at least inspire us to run into a spaceship in Central Park to see both? Mr. Lagerfield put it well when he said, “Art is art. Fashion is fashion,” Mr. Lagerfeld said. “However, Andy Warhol proved that they can exist together.”

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Go before they're gone! Treehouses

I FINALLY saw the treehouses! I'm sure you can sense my excitement over them. On display since early March at Longwood Gardens, with fantastic reviews, I've been meaning to get myself up to Kennett Square to see them. On my way home from Baltimore early Saturday morning I couldn't not take advantage of the beautiful fall day and made an impromptu phone call to my Grandparents asking them to join me. Two hours later, scarf and map in tow, I was on my way around the small lake and approaching the first of three treehouses, the Canopy Cathedral. And let me tell you, it was an impressive set of digs.

The Canopy Cathedral (along with the Birdhouse) was designed and constructed by Seattle-based TreeHouse Workshop. Now of course, in-line with Pierce DuPont's mission to preserve the green life on Longwood Gardens, the tree houses were built as to never harm the trees, but to be harmonic with them. Called a Pin Foundation, the treehouse is anchored to a series of long pipes driven into the ground, leaving the trees limbs and roots unscathed. The other two tree houses, the Lookout Loft and the Bird House are just as impressive (a million dollar price tag and four months to construct would further explain), but I won't spoil the surprise with too many photos! I took my time to awe, as did the many other families, adult and children of all types did that afternoon. Whether tree houses are an adventure, a dream of your own or simply nostalgic, they are a must see, and you're lucky if you haven't because they'll be on display until November 23rd.

Normally I visit Longwood come Christmas time as do many, but there is much so see during Autumn. The children's garden recently reopened with a spanking new look and a water theme. And to my pleasant surprise the Lilypads were still out, possibly due to an Indian Summer?
Hungry? You can't go wrong in the Longwood neighborhood. If you're going back to Wilmington, Pizza By Elizabeth's is the way to go, or Buckley's Tavern. However, I was in route through Kennett Square and Hockessin, and had a late lunch at the The Back Burner. And I've got 2 words for your Pumpkin Bisque.

Thursday, October 16, 2008


As embarrassed as I might be to admit it, I watch the Martha Stewart Show. But honestly, there's not much else on t.v. at 2:00p.m. when I go home for lunch daily other than the soaps. But before I divulge too many detail of my daily turkey sandwich inhalation, I'll tell you about an interesting guest on Martha Stewart yesterday, who happened to be an artist. And I'm sure that many of you have met artists of this type before, however you may not have considered their work pieces of art.

Larry Moss was the guest and he is an Airigami artist: partaking in the art of folding air in specially prepared latex containers.... also known as balloon art! But Larry's work goes way beyond your basic children's party puppy dog. Originally a performance artist, specializing in juggling, Larry became more interested in Airigami. From there it became a full-time job. He still performs for audiences today, but now teaches balloon art and is setting world record for large scale Airigami. In 2000 he set the world record for the largest non-round balloon sculpture in the world. Using 40,781 balloons and using no other materials for structure, a total of 44 people constructed a soccer player that stood over 25 feet tall.

On Martha Stewart yesterday, Larry was promoting his recent project called Balloon Manor. Larry has constructed a 10-room, 10,000-square foot, walk-through haunted house made from 100,000 balloons in hist home base town of Rochester, NY. Anyone can go see Ba loon Manor, and with profits from tickets sales going to Teens Living With Cancer, it's a sure bet.

Even if you can't make it to Rochester, rule of thumb here is, give those heart-shaped balloon creaters some more credit, for art's sake.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

The Power of the Blog: Blog Action Day 2008:Poverty

ou already know what a blog is. If not, you're very very lost in Internet space (word of advice, go back to google). Today, there is an immense community of writers of all kinds typing away daily to entertain, educate and inspire millions of reader on just about any topic under the sun.

When I heard about Blog Action Day, I'm sure you can imagine how thrilled I was to join an initiative with fellow bloggers around the world. Considering blogs are a type of media outlet, they can be a powerful message outlet. Blog Action Day was created as an annual nonprofit event that unites bloggers to post about the same issue on the same day to raise awareness and trigger a global discussion. Hence to say I signed up as it makes a great topic for this week's Non-Profit of the Week entry!
The topic of discussion this year is Poverty. Talk about general. I've been thinking this through all day as to what to discuss (all the while dropping off a bulk mail, finalizing Gala Sponsorship levels and completing the Edward Grant invites) and I kept thinking, Poverty is an issue drilled into our head, "Poverty is bad, we must solve." But has anyone really gone in to further thought of the roots of this crusade to end poverty?

This question sent me right back to Holy Cross Elementary School, circa 1991 in theology class. We were learning about the 3 necessities of life. My dearest teacher Mrs. B told us that everyone in this world deserves food, clothing and shelter; meaning a full belly, clothes on your back, and a roof over your head. Anything else is an added plus that we don't necessarily need. Jumping right back to 2008, i define poverty as the exact opposite: those without food, clothing and shelter. Put those two together and you have inequality. By fighting to end poverty in every way around the world we are working towards equality between every person on this earth.

As one of the biggest issues facing the world, right up next to war, it's going to take alot to solve it. So where do we start? Can one person make a change? Of course you can. And you don't have to empty your pockets on every city street corner to help either.

You can start by making a food donation to your local food pantry. Thanksgiving is just around the corner so make sure every family has stuffing and cranberry sauce to eat.
Volunteer for Habitat for Humanity one Saturday afternoon. You'll literally be building the roof for someone else.
Or go on-line. I just discovered a great site called
Save the World With Music. There you can answer music trivia questions and every time you answer a question correctly, we give a donation which is enough to provide one person with clean water for one day.
There are an infinite amount of possibilities out there for you, you just have to find one.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Artists Give Amsterdam's Red Light a Green Light

Through the city-wide project initiative, called Project 1012, Amsterdam is pulling a Giuliani and cleaning up the streets, especially the notorious Red Light District.

This lovely city filled with wooden shoes and windmills (not to mention plenty of other things for adults only) has made a promise to the people of Amsterdam to clean up its world-famous Red Light District by upgrading the 750-year-old neighborhood over the next ten years including a ban of window prostitution. By closing most of the windows the city hopes to curtail both human trafficking and the white-washing of money by criminal gangs. So, by clearing out most of the "windows", coffeeshops and "riff raff", the city hopes to recapture the historic sense of Amsterdam and preserve the architecture.

So with all this real estate popping up, who is coming in? I'm glad to say it's artists! The city government is working with private enterprises to replace the bordellos with studio space for fashion designers and artists. Real Estate company, De Key, has already purchased ten buildings in the Red Light District to accommodate painters, sculptors and other visual artists. These spaces will be made for both living and working. De Key hopes "to strengthen the residential quality and livability of the area, as well as to contribute to the preservation of its rich historical architecture." De Key has even announced that in the beginning phases they will collaborate with Topstad Amsterdam and Kunstenaars and Co., to select young Dutch artists to live and work in the new properties and also exhibit their work. So there will still be something to look at in the windows of the Red Light District wont there?

It's pleasing to see that cities continually recognize that art in the community not only raises real-estate values but also contributes to the general quality of life of everyone living in it. As seen in Amsterdam, artists living, working and exhibiting in the city are helping to improve the city and the district for everyone. The Biggs is working hard to do just the same: to not only contribute to making the city of Dover a wonderful place to live, but for the entire State of Delaware as well. I guess I should put it as, "We're here for ya."

Thursday, October 9, 2008

In The News: WAMU Whams Seattle Art Museum

Banks have been falling like prices at Wal-Mart these days. This is leaving most museums and non-profits in the U.S. stir crazy. Most of us are thinking... what happens now? The Seattle Art Museum certainly has a few words to toot after the collapse of Washington Mutual Bank (WAMU).... What kind of relationship does WAMU have with Seattle Art Museum you ask? Seattle Art Museum happens to be WAMU's landlord.

In 2007, Seattle Art Museum made an impressive expansion to their building, to 268,000 from 150,000 square feet, so that it could persuade local donors to augment its permanent collection, in time for its 75th anniversary. This expansion added almost 1,000 new objects to the permanent collection, a Curator's dream basically. Seattle Art Museum partnered with WAMU and leased the top 8 floors of the building to them for use, which then prompted WAMU to build its own new headquarters on museum land adjacent to the expansion, purchasing development rights for $18 million, an $8-million discount on the appraisal. Will JP Morgan Chase then occupy the building since their foots are in WAMU's doors? According to SAM, WAMU is still paying rent.

On the East Coast in good ole' Philadelphia, Philadelphia Museum of Art is in Partnership with Wachovia, which was just bought out by Wells Fargo (too bad, Citigroup). Wachovia charitable giving focused on community development and education. Wachovia funded the Wachovia Education Resource Center at PMA to promote arts education with Philly kids. A pretty nice gift with a tag of $750,000 to construct the center, which opened in 2007. They also threw in another $500,000 for good measure for free admission to the public for the past four months.

So... the question is, will this become the Wells Fargo Education Resource Center now? Or does that depend on future funding from Wells Fargo.

I'm sure this is happening around town alot for both large and small art museums. Banks are good to art museums when it comes to grants and funding for programs, restoration, preservation and fundraising. But with all the falling, will there still be enough to go around?

We shall see.

Blips taken from Culturegrll and Art Net News.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Cause of the Week: Pink Power!

First Lady Laura Bush really started Breast Cancer Awareness Month off right by flipping the light switch and illuminating the White House pink. Laura Bush was quoted last night:

"We're showing our support of breast cancer awareness and research in a historic way. In recognition of the mothers, daughters, sisters and wives who struggle with this disease, we're lighting the White House in pink, which is the color of the cause. May our lights tonight shine as beacons around the world, a signal of the United States' commitment to saving lives for breast cancer."

As the most common cancer in women in the United States, having affected over 2 million women, it is vital that everyone unites together, not only in October, but all year-round to fight this disease. Fortunately, everyone is fighting. Just by googling breast cancer, you will see the hundreds of local, regional and national organizations working together to not only finding a cure for breast cancer but also promoting prevention through education and screening and providing support to breast cancer patients and survivors.

Now I'm sure you've heard of the big guys, Susan G. Komen (racing peeps) and Breast Cancer Research Foundation (scientist peeps). These two organization provide opportunities to support the cause, but why not make your efforts hit closer to home by supporting your local organizations working to help your neighbors. This month, there is an abundance of opportunities to support breast cancer, starting with shopping!

Delaware Breast Cancer Coalition has teamed up with Tanger Outlets to offer The Power of Pink coupon. Each coupon is $1 a pop and entitled you to 25% off one item from an participating store. And good news, Coach and Cole Haan are in the deal.. talk about a huge discount and a huge help to DBCC.

On October 10th, "Good Morning America" co-anchor and breast cancer survivor Robin Roberts will speak at 7 p.m. at the DuPont Theatre in Wilmington. She's going to discuss her fight against breast cancer and the importance of screening. Call the theater at 656-4401 for tickets ($15-$50). I'm more than willing to put my Today Show preference aside for this talk.

On October 12th, The American Cancer Society is hosting the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer 5K Race/Walk to be held at the Wilmington Riverfront. The event begins at 7 a.m. For more information, call (410) 933-5134.

My mother, a breast cancer survivor, is constantly reminding me that screening is the key to early detection. Which means self-checks and mammograms are a must. On October 8, 15, and 22, Bayhealth Medical Center will offer $15 mammograms to uninsured and underinsured patients from 1 to 3 p.m. at the Women's Center at Dover, Women's Wellness Center at Milford and the Middletown Medical Center. For more information or to schedule an appointment, call Bayhealth's breast care coordinator at 744-6773. Check with your local hospital for opportunities to get screened today.

Last but not least, if shopping is your thing, pick up any women's magazine at your grocery store. Almost every issue this month, Shape, Glamour, Cosmo, People... list stores and web-sites offering limited edition products that are donating proceeds from the sales to Breast Cancer organizations. I particularly loved Bath and Body Works Cancer Vixen products. Maker of the products C.O. Bigelow has teamed with renowned cartoonist Marisa Acocella Marchello, and her book Cancer Vixen, to offer several body products and are planning to donate all of the proceeds to Breast Cancer Research Foundation. Who doesn't like berry scented soap?

Monday, October 6, 2008

Funny Things in Art Museum Gift Shops

Forget those canvas tote bags and post cards, museums are ramping it up in their gift shops with creative gifting. I had to share with you one gift being offer at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago. Ladies and gentleman, meet the Hot Man Trivet.....

Any lady in the hot kitchen could use a real man to help out.... with open arms of course. He'll sit on your fancy marble counter tops and protect them from your hot hot lasagna. Since his mouth is forever open (don't worry he won't touch the casserole) you can hang him up on a hook. It's not too early to start your Christmas shopping with this guy for only $24. If you're really up for some VISA charging (and I mean only if you're up for it) go to MOMA's store.... you'll never want to close your browser.

And doesn't the say go.... "if you can't take the heat, stay out of the kitchen" ??

Friday, October 3, 2008

The Weekend's Delaware Delights: Fall Funness

The foilage may not have arrived yet, but you can still kick off October with a bang at a few of these great events!

University of Delaware's Coast Day - Sunday, October 5, 11a.m. to 5p.m. UD's Hugh R. Sharp Campus, Lewes, DE.
Never ever underestimate the power of your ocean! This family-oriented event had loads of fun on the itinerary. Start off by picking up your Treasure Hunt map for chances to win prizes and then learn learn and learn more about environmental science. Meet scientists, tour boats, see sharks and learn how these guys down in Lewes are working hard to preserve our coasts. But in all honesty, all you need to know to go is four words, Crab Cake Cook Off. Go to to plan your coast day activities and practice your crab walk too while you're at it.

Delaware Auto Show - All Weekend, Chase Center, Wilmington, DE, $7 for Adults, Free for Children Ages 10 & Under
The inaugural auto show was such a hit last year it's back! Over 200 cars will be under one roof in Wilmington this week-end along with a slew of famous characters like YouDee and Swoop the Philadelphia Eagle.

Governor's Annual Fall Festival - Saturday October 4, Dover, DE 10 a.m. to 4 p.m Free
The Biggs will be there and so should you! The weather is lookin' real fine for a nice day in downtown Dover, including includes a morning 5K run/walk, entertainment, children’s games, a moon bounce, pony rides, face-painting and over 40 craft booths for all to enjoy. Local entertainment will be on hand to keep the fun rolling all day. This program is in conjunction with First State Heritage Park's First Saturday Free program.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

A Colorful Kind of MySpace

Purple has always been my favorite color. Purple was the first and only color I ever mixed in art class during the primary colors lesson. Just mix the red and blue paint and voila, purple. Add a dash of white for some lavender and you've got yourself a 5 year old girl's dream bedroom wall paint. If you've ever delighted in color mixing, enjoyed paint shopping at Home Depot or just plain like your world filled with color, you're going to love the website: Colour Lovers
Colour Lovers is a networking and creative site for all color lovers and users that monitors and influences color trends. The site caters to design professionals but all color lovers have been joining for fun. You can begin by browsing through different swatches, patterns and palettes created by fellow users for inspiration for your own projects (the living room is screaming for a fresh coat and your 10 year olds' Book Report Cover needs revamping) and then go ahead and start color matching on your own. Join a group or a discussion and make friends with others who have similar tastes (I'm currently on a search for the other purple lovers...)
And did I mention there's a blog to go with? Yes, the blog section of Colour Lovers is a great way to keep up with color news and how color palettes are extracted from everyday life. Case in point, in light of the current economic downturn, a entry was most recently posted about Color Palettes in an Economic Downturn. and different colors of camo. My thoughts on all of this? Mono chromatics better beware.