Tuesday, September 29, 2009

And the Rob Pruitt Goes To...

I must admit I tend to watch the news coverage of the red carpet before the awards show more so often than the actual event. I simply rely on Perez Hilton to fill me in on the results the following morning. Plus, at this rate, the Oscars is borderline an overnight event.

There are plenty of awards in the art industry. We have our own in Delaware each year when DDOA hands out individual fellowships to emerging and established artists throughout the state. But an actual awards show for the arts? With all the glitz and glamour? You better believe it.

This fall, the Guggenheim and artist Rob Pruitt will present the First Annual Art Awards Show.

The Art Awards show will celebrate and honor individuals, exhibitions and projects that have made a significant impact in the contemporary art world from January 2008 to June 2009. There are over 11 categories with nominees chosen from a council of over 400 artists and professionals. The show (TBD Oct 29) will bring out some familiar faces to present such as Sofia Coppola and Mary-Kat Olsen.

Some of the categories will include Artist of the Year, Curator of the Year (Ryan, you deserve it!), Exhibition outside the US, Gallery show of the year, and Writer of the Year. Guggenheim and Pruitt do good at the Awards Show by donating net proceeds to non-profit arts organizations: the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation; White Columns; and Studio in a School.

So what is the actual "award"? A silver ice bucket holding a champagne bottle designed by Pruitt himself.

The concept of the awards show is great exposure for the industry in general, but I was dying to see what the "catch" was. I knew these contemporary art people were up to something. Pruitt has actually conceived the awards show as a "performance-based" work of art himself that follows the format of a Hollywood awards ceremony.

Pruitt comments on the work, “For me, the Art Awards are essentially a curated show with the curating having been done by the art community itself. I’m very interested in a type of curating that respects the art but also focuses on the selection process, patterns and trends within the art community."

This is history in the making people. No word yet if we can tune in to watch, but I'm sure we'll hear the results. I wonder if they'll tag Neil Patrick Harris to host, he did such a fab job with the Emmys.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Love (And Bad Taste) Is In the Eye of the Beholder

Do these people look thrilled to tie the knot?

Every week the Dover Post comes to the house, my mother increasingly expresses her disappointment in the dwindling of the wedding and engagement announcement section. "Why doesn't anyone send their daughter's picture in anymore?! How am I supposed to know?!" She says. I don't know why recently engaged or married couples don't send in photos and announcements anymore, but perhaps this could be one of the reasons...maybe the photos are just too bad. Bad, you ask?! I know you're thinking, how could a photograph used to announce lifelong dedication be bad? You better believe it. Guidespot.com, a web-site for you guessed it, guides to anything, posted an entry this morning with a boat load of bad engagement photos. Some are quirky, some make you feel a bit uncomfortable and some leave you seriously scratching your head. Word of advice, get a second of thirs opinion before sending your photos to the paper....if you plan on doing so.

Click here for many more.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

A Very Special And Colorful Delivery...

"Don't you love New York in the fall? It makes me wanna buy school supplies. I would send you a bouquet of newly sharpened pencils if I knew your name and address. On the other hand, this not knowing has its charms."-Tom Hanks as Joe Fox in You've Got Mail

I could watch that movie over and over again. Tom Hanks charm eventually won over Meg Ryan in that famous 1998 chick flick, and now a Social Design, a division of Felismo Design House in New York can make that Tom Hanks moment come true with their latest project 500 Colored Pencils. Social Designer has created a set of 500 colored pencils, each with a name and a story. No offense ROY G BIV, but these pencils have characters, and great names as well. There is a Belisimo lilac, a Pumpkin Spice Orange and a Barbados Blue.

500 colored pencils is a huge commitment for your Jane Doe, so Social Designer has "designed" (no pun intended) up a subscription program to receive 25 pencils every month for 25 months. Who wouldn't want a nice colorful delivery of new pencils delivered to their door each month? Click here to sign up for your subscription now. And once your first set arrives, visit the Museum. Our new Fusion exhibition opened up yesterday. The vivid colors of all the Latin American Art on display are sure to inspire you.

I'd hate to close this entry without further explaining to you the scale of fabulousness of the 500 Colored Penciles Project. 1 set out of every 100 sets sold is donated to the UNESCO DREAM Centers to support arts education for underprivileged children around the world. Social Designer, the group heading up this project, is an online community born from Felissimo Design House, is dedicated to promoting social awareness through design. The group holds design competitions to create products for sale that support meaningful causes. You can submit designs for contests, vote for your favorites and then shop for the goods. A percentage of all the profits for to the charities the goods are supporting.

Friday, September 11, 2009

I seemed to have lost my "Get Out of Taxes Free" Card in Dublin

Since 1969, Irish-based writers, musicians and visual artists have been exempt from paying income tax on their earnings under the Republic's tax laws. Who knew???? And because of this, why aren't all artists living in Ireland? I wonder if Damien Hirst has a holiday home in the countryside somewhere? Perhaps not if U2 had to move their business out of Ireland in 2006 because of a 250,000 euro cap-off added to the law.

The tax exemption was introduced in 1969 by Prime Minister Charles Haughey to help struggling artists. Fast forward to 2009, and Irish government is trying to rid the country of the exemption in its entirety, aiming to make the system fairer to all its citizens. Irish artists need not feel discriminated against as this is one of the many proposed tax amendments to the system.

The Arts Council across the pond doesn't seem to be too happy about the ordeal, stating that over half of the artists who are beneficiaries have average earnings of less than half the minimum wage. Furthermore, 24% earn only between 10 to 25,000 euros a month. Some believe that this will discourage artists early on in their career.

As disappointing this news may be for many of these artists, I support the government's desire to make taxation fair among everyone in the country. My words of advice, don't quit your day job. Or better yet, for many...get a day job.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Who You Callin' Ugly?

There are alot of top ten, twenty, fifty and one hundred lists out there. Some of them for good...such as the Sexiest Man Alive People Issue or the NY Time's Bestsellers List. And some are bad, very bad, such as PETA's worst dressed celebrity list or the annual Razzy awards. Although many can say they've seen alot of bad art out there, but has there ever been a ranking? I haven't found a list ranking Picasso versus Van Gogh yet, but stumbled on to an interesting list in the world of architecture.
The British architecture magazine Building Design annually awards a prize to the worst building erected in Britain over the past 12 months. This contest, also known as the Carbuncle Cup, takes nominations by the mag's readers and also uses a panel of architects and critics to select the year's worst eye sore. How was the ugliest chosen? It actually wasn't just on looks alone...that would be way too shallow. The building's setting, the budget and the extent to which the client was disappointed were all considered.

Who took first? LA-based Hamilton Architects should be hiding under their blueprints for the Liverpool Ferry Terminal. Ellis Woodman of the Telegraph and a juror described the building perfectly by saying, "Looking like a karaoke version of a Zaha Hadid project, it takes the form of a skew-whiff cross-section that has been extruded like a stick of rock. The long elevations could hardly be more boring, the Dr Caligari-style end fa├žades no more grotesque. It would be a nightmare building in any setting. The fact that it sits not only within a UNESCO world heritage site but directly in front of the Three Graces – the Royal Liver, Cunard and Port of Liverpool buildings, which for nearly a century have been the very emblems of the city – makes its construction utterly inexplicable."

Hamilton Architects didn't have the project listed on their site....wonder why. Click here to see all of the heinous buildings built from the past year. I think i'll take a stroll down to the Green just to get clear my head of all these pretty ugly projects.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Oatmeal, you never looked better.

Sadly, the Biggs Shot 2009 exhibition came down late June. Back when we opened the show in early spring, Biggs staff got to choose their top pick for the on-line exhibition. It didn't take long to me to fall in love with Stephanie Kirk's Breakfast Serial photos. She had not one, but three chosen for the show! I can't truly explain to you why I was so drawn to Stephanie's photos... I could feel the morning sun coming through the window of her kitchen, hear the tea kettle buzz and the papers ruffle, and I could smell the citrus fromt he grapefruit and taste the sweetness of the jam on her toast. This photograph was so real to me; a real morning, a start to the day that many of us don't get to have... "Welcome to McDonald's can I take your order?"

Sadly, I could not afford to purchase one of her photographs, but I will keep dreaming. But I miss visiting the galleries for a second, third, fourth, fifth and six glance at them. But who knew, someone in cyber/blog space was out there answering my prayers.

Her name is Jennifer Causey and she is a photographer out of Brooklyn, NY. She writes, or rather posts to, a blog called Simply Breakfast. And that's what it is... photographs of her breakfast everyday. But this isn't your disposable camera shot of the Lucky Charms box. Her breakfast shots have a whimsical feel to them, making you want to wrap yourself with a blanket, NYT and a cup of tea all morning long. The blog is very very simple, just photographs, with text rarely, giving you the opportunity to take what you want from it.

I was delighted to see that Jennifer photographs for Anthropologie and Real Simple Magazine, two of my favorite things in life. Her style is definitely reflective of these two brands.

So if you aren't too hungry, or feeling lazy looking forward to this Labor Day weekend, check out her blog and cook yourself a gorgeous omelet tomorrow morning.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

PETA is gonna have a fit...

My princess Chesapeake Bay retriever, Giulianova (goes by Julia), doesn't need a costume for character. The girl watches Martha Stewart, can guard a newspaper all day, chases after her own tail for 10 minutes at a time and can imitate the Stanley Steamer commercial to the dot. Occasionally we'll throw a bandanna around her during the holidays, but as far as grooming goes, she's lucky to get herself a good scrub with the hose out back.

Well I've discovered a dog trend that Giulianova might not feel so comfortable following. It's called creative grooming. Apparently, people are taking their poodles and grooming them to look anything like, well anything that isn't a poodle. The results are schocking. I've never been to a creative grooming competition, and I'm sure many of you haven't either, so thank goodness for Photographer Ren Netherland of Animal Photography Studio in Clearwater, FL (wonder, if the Hulk has taken his pooches for a photo sess). He travels the country in a mobile photography studio and captures the walking and barking "works of art."

Now, there are some serious ethical questions about creative grooming. Is this abuse? I for one have learned from experience that hair dye and highlights can do massive destruction to your mane, so I'm sure that hot pink on a poodle isn't going to be the best thing for it. But in the meantime, scroll down for some of my "favorites" (is it ok to admit that?).

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

The Information Highway? A Scenic Route

Warning: The next two paragraphs are alot of rambling. Looking to get straight to the point? Scroll down please.
I'm an information glutton. I just can't get enough of it. Let me illustrate by explaining to you the overload that is my daily (weekdays, mostly) schedule.

6:00 a.m. YMCA: Women's Health magazine turned to the latest health breakthroughs, while watching several televisions turned to the local morning news stations

7:30 a.m. Shower, Dress at Home: The Today Show for background noise

8:30 a.m. Kitchen: Breakfast amongst more The Today Show and The Delaware State News and The News Journal

9:00 a.m. (or usually 9:10 a.m.) Office: browse through mail, check monthly pubs for any Biggs Press
9:15 a.m. Office: Sit down at computer, check work and personal email, contains The Daily Beast, Daily Candy, and several other daily e-newsletters for art news (blog material!)

11:00 a.m. Office: Morning brain break, check Facebook and favorite cooking blogs (about 15 in rotation)

2:00 p.m. Lunch at Home: Martha Stewart Show is full of information

6:00 p.m. UD, night class: THREE hours of information in first advertising class

9:30 p.m. Cup of Tea at Home, unwind with the Wall Street Journal, breeze through Marketplace section

10:15 p.m.: Bed time, crack open my new book Buyology

10:30 p.m.: Brain dead.

I'm sure I missed some parts here and there, if you can believe it.

Now, where am i going with this? I'll take you on my information highway. One health email newsletter I received yesterday morning, contained a link to a diagram of an XY axis plotting calories versus caffeine for popular coffee shop beverages. After a click here and there I landed on David McCandless' blog, called Information is Beautiful. David is a London-based author, writer and designer. He's done alot of copyrighting, won awards for it in fact and has been published in many places many times.

He loves information, just like i do. But he takes it a step further and has a passion for visualising information, as he did in the Caffeine and Calories Chart. His blog is filled with not only his own charts but other visualizations he finds interesting elsewhere. Some are quite serious, such as how to reduce your chances of dying in a plane crash, but I find most quite useful. I was particularly intrigued by the Timeline of Global Media Scare Stories. Who would have thought that storied about violence in video games would always be prominent in the spring time right around the anniversary of Columbine?
But I LOVED the Movie Monster Comparison Chart. Does size really matter?

And don't think about finding a pie chart on his blog, he hates them. Who doesn't these days?