| July 21, 2016 | Culture Feature
This year, our exclusive and unique Art of the City portfolio presents a true celebration of the exceptional talent and diversity of our nation’s artists. In what has become one of the most exciting events in our GreenGale Publishing calendar, the 2016 lineup represents the best, the boldest, and the buzziest from each of our 11 cities.
From Boston to New York City and the Hamptons, to Washington, DC, and Philadelphia, Chicago and Miami, Los Angeles, Aspen, Las Vegas, and Austin, we are showcasing this spectacular array of artists in each of our magazines, on our covers, and through a series of exclusive events around the country, designed to connect our readers and communities with America’s art superstars.
In addition—and to underscore our commitment to art awareness in our cities—this year’s featured artists have donated select works to charities to help provide much-needed support.
Twyla Tharp said, “Art is the only way to run away without leaving home.” Now, on your mark, get set… go!
NO ONE UNDERSTANDS AUSTINITES’ PASSION FOR PLACE LIKE THIS VISUAL ARTIST, WHOSE XYZ ATLAS SHOWS WHERE LOCALS HAVE EXPERIENCED THEIR HIGHS AND LOWS ACROSS THE CITY.
BY KATHY BLACKWELL
Where in Austin have you laughed the hardest? Where did you fall in love? Where did you have your worst night?
These types of questions are at the heart of XYZ Atlas, a collaborative multimedia project by local artist Jennifer Chenoweth that illustrates how we feel about places around the city—from the Capitol to the Continental Club—by using art, technology, and psychology. Over the course of three years, more than 500 Austinites responded to Chenoweth’s surveys. Based on a color wheel inspired by psychologist Robert Plutchik’s theory of emotions, (lemon yellow for joy, dark green for terror, and so forth) and employing GIS (geospatial information systems) technology, she created The Hedonic Map of Austin, depicting our emotional connections, good and bad, with places that matter to us. From her first version in 2013 through the final 3-D map she unveiled during May’s West Austin Studio Tour, Austinites’ happiest place has never changed: It’s right there in a lemon-yellow peak over Barton Springs and Zilker Park.
“I thought people would just answer with two-word locations, but they told these rich stories,” says Chenoweth, 47. “Newcomers got to say why they picked being here—they came for an event or a vacation and they had these life-changing events.” For natives and longtime residents, their answers were “a way to commemorate the spots where they’ve experienced their whole lives.” Chenoweth herself moved to Austin in 1996 to earn her MFA from UT and entrenched herself in the local scene with her Fisterra Studios and by founding Generous Art.org, which sells original artwork and gives some of the proceeds to local charities. With Barton Springs as the high point on her Hedonic Map, she has worked closely with a favorite nonprofit, the Barton Creek Conservancy, which hosted her XYZ Atlas finale in May as well as the summer-long exhibit at the Barton Springs Bathhouse.
Chenoweth is applying for grants to help her fund the digital platform of XYZ Atlas so she can take it to other cities (she did a live mapping event at Texas A&M University last year). “The possibilities of art have completely changed through technology,” she says. Artwork from XYZ Atlas is on display through August at the Beverly S. Sheffield Education Center at Barton Springs Pool Bathhouse, 2201 Barton Springs Rd.
THE BASALT ARTIST EXPLORES THE UNIVERSE—ONE BRUSH STROKE AT A TIME.
BY CHRISTINE BENEDETTI
It's been 40 years since Basalt artist Richard Carter was Herbert Bayer’s assistant in Aspen, but the Bauhaus architect and artist’s influence is clearly present in Carter’s newest series of works. “It’s in my blood,” he says of the modernist movement known for bold lines, stark shapes, and bright colors. “Longtime collectors of mine will come in and say, ‘We know where this came from,’ but it’s critically different.”
He’s referring to the fruit of two years of work: more than 50 large, square, acrylic-on-wood pieces—16 of which will be presented in a June exhibition titled “Mandalas Considered” at The Launchpad in Carbondale. “I got interested in the mandala, not in a spiritual way but in a formal way, the structure of it,” Carter says about the geometric pattern used to represent the universe in many Eastern cultures. “For centuries and eons it’s held this square form, and it’s a steady presentation of how they view the universe.”
Artistic representations of the science behind the natural world are nothing new for 70-year-old Carter. His previous series have featured everything from iconoclastic icebergs under the Brooklyn Bridge to birds, lightning, and fire. He has always been fascinated with physics, and that’s reflected in many of his images, especially those featuring Prismacolor drawings of particle fission overlaid with deconstructed borders and boxes. One, called Higgs Mandala, features a re-creation of the actual image in which scientists discovered the Higgs boson particle in 2013. Bright orange, yellow, and verdant green rectangles make up a complex visual, like building blocks scattered over a map on the floor. “It’s a starting point for how you can focus on something and maybe have it be meditative and maybe not,” he says. “I didn’t want them to be this super-literal, balanced approach. I wanted them to be asymmetrical, colorful, and wanted to focus on a central image that [had] some meaning at that moment I painted it.”
For Carter, that can mean many things. He’s a cofounder of the Aspen Art Museum and deeply rooted in the valley’s arts scene, currently serving on the boards of The Arts Campus at Willits and The Art Base, the mid-valley nonprofit that will be the beneficiary of an Aspen Peak–hosted summer fundraiser where one of his works will be auctioned off. “They’ve evolved over different ways in the past two years,” he says of his mandala pieces, “but they all have some reference to scientific notation.” The series visibly transition from complex, physics-centered pieces to modern, simplified, yet more abstract works. The same could be said of Carter himself. “Mandalas Considered” runs June 3–25 at The Launchpad in Carbondale, 76 S. Fourth St., 970-963-1680. “Drawings” runs June 10–July 1 at The Art Base in Basalt, 99 Midland Spur, 970-927-4123.
THE HOWARD UNIVERSITY PROFESSOR IS DEVELOPING THE NEXT GENERATION OF PHOTOGRAPHERS BY LOOKING TO THE ART FORM’S PAST IN ORDER TO SEE ITS FUTURE.
BY KRISTON CAPPS
When it comes to photographic techniques, Ronald Beverly, the head of the photography department at Howard University in Washington, DC, is a film purist—except when he isn’t. He grounds his own art—and insists that his students ground theirs—in an understanding of traditional practices, darkroom and all, even if 90 percent of the work he is shooting right now is digital. “I’m always accustomed to the complete loop from beginning to end, from image capture to presentation,” Beverly says.
Consider Nature’s Avatar, a kaleidoscopic series of digital giclées (printed on canvas) that look like something Google’s Deep Dream program might generate. They scan plainly as landscapes and vaguely as natural: rectilinear mandalas that emphasize form, pattern, and fractal geometry. Obviously, these are digital transformations. But Beverly’s black-and-white silver gelatin landscape prints are no less sharp and craggy.
Still, the 56-year-old artist is clear with his students that he prizes large-format film photography over digital. “It’s about craftsmanship first, and your meaning and message later,” he says. (Or as he likes to describe the digital-versus-film divide, “The microwave is quicker, but the food doesn’t taste as good.”) In the end, his overarching theme remains the same. “My goal,” says Beverly, “is to bring to light what we can’t see.” Ronald Beverly’s work will be on display at the MGM National Harbor when it opens this fall. 7100 Oxon Hill Rd., Oxon Hill, 844-346-4664. boxlightstudios.prosite.com
After a freak accident in childhood, Lisa Schulte lost her sight for three months. It was a moment that shaped the rest of her life. “One doesn’t take sight for granted when you get it back,” says the 60-year-old artist. “It changed my sense of light.” Now, as a visual artist known for her neon work, she’s constantly surrounded by an electric glow. “Many artists take a stab at using neon, but only a few in the world are true experts,” says Blair Clarke of New York’s Voltz Clarke Gallery, which will mount an exhibition of Schulte’s pieces this summer.
Schulte is largely self-taught and came to neon through the event production industry—she had her own signage shop in Los Angeles, Nights of Neon, in the mid-’80s. “I just reached a point where I had so much experience in how glass works that I started creating three-dimensional sculptures with neon,” she says. These days, Schulte muses that she can literally “see” in neon—and she’s helping the next generation see it too, by donating a work of art to be auctioned for the arts-mentoring nonprofit Free Arts NYC. “You just have to keep doing it, doing it, doing it,” she says of her work. “Then you have the natural feel to shape things within you.” “Summer Selections,” an exhibition featuring Schulte’s work, runs July 1–August 31 at Voltz Clarke Gallery, 141 E. 62nd St., Second Fl., 212- 933-0291
THE SURF-INSPIRED PHOTOGRAPHER RELEASES A HIGHLY ANTICIPATED NEW EDITION OF HIS BELOVED BEACH-CENTRIC TOME.
BY KARI MOLVAR
When photographer Michael Dweck, 58, published The End: Montauk, N.Y., in 2004, an homage to the Hamptons’ surfing culture and sun-streaked landscape, the initial print run of 5,000 copies sold out in less than three weeks. Collectors will have another chance to grab the book this summer, though: In July, Dweck will publish 300 copies of a new edition of The End. The $3,000 clothbound volume includes 85 previously unpublished images, as well as an essay by photographer (and Montauk resident) Peter Beard and an 11-by-14-inch gelatin silver print (Surf’s Up, Adriana, or Lilla), numbered and signed. To celebrate its release and preserve the shorelines depicted in the pages, a portion of the proceeds of the book will go toward the Surfrider Foundation, Oceana, and Splash, which help maintain US waterways and beaches.
For Dweck, the new edition is also a chance to expand on the book’s original narrative—the spellbinding allure of summer and surfing, and a way of life that’s fading away. “The work was my way of freezing Montauk from when I was a kid,” says Dweck, who grew up in Nassau County, Long Island, and began visiting the seaside community in the ’70s. “It was about a feeling—of what it’s like to be free, young, and 19 again.” The End: Montauk, N.Y. (2016) (Ditch Plains Press; $3,000) is available at ditchplainspress.com.
BILLY AL BENGSTON
AN LA LEGEND ARTS ON.
BY MICHAEL HERREN
In the pantheon of postwar California Cool artists—adventurers with names such as Ruscha, Price, Bell, Altoon, Irwin, and Graham—Billy Al Bengston is the trickster god.
He’s one thing; he’s its other—an entertaining introvert who’s naturally the life of any party but who’s also a natural in his studio, alone, a party of one. A self-proclaimed pistonhead who has surfed toes-on-the-nose and raced motorcycles for cash and glory—and who then translated this love of speedy sleekness and slick sheen into motifs and finishes in his paintings.
Born in Dodge City, Kansas, at the height of the Depression, Bengston and his family settled in LA in the late 1940s, just in time for high school, where he developed a passion for ceramics before switching to painting. He then proceeded to have five solo shows at the famed Ferus Gallery on North La Cienega Boulevard between 1958 and 1963, and at age 82 he continues to strive to paint a pretty picture—noting, however, that his idea of a pretty picture might not be yours. “Painting, it’s like self-flagellation,” he says. “You sort of like it, and hope other people like what you did while you were beating yourself.”
Bengston is donating a hand-colored monoprint, Untitled (1972), which will be auctioned on July 16 at Summer on Seventh, the annual LA fundraiser-cum-arts happening benefiting Inner-City Arts, a nonprofit that provides underserved youth in Los Angeles with access to free arts education. Bengston’s work is featured in “Human Interest: Portraits from the Whitney’s Collection,” which runs April 27, 2016–February 12, 2017, at the Whitney Museum of American Art, 99 Gansevoort St., New York, 212-570-3600.
THE CELEBRATED MURALIST HAS CREATED SOME OF THE CITY’S MOST ICONIC PUBLIC ARTWORKS, AND THIS SUMMER SHE REIMAGINES TWO OF THEM.
BY JOANN GRECO
As the creator of such beloved Philadelphia images as Our Flag Unfurled, artist Meg Saligman has become an integral part of the vibrant cultural life that drew her to the city. Painted on the side of a warehouse near the Benjamin Franklin Bridge, the mural was an immediate response to the events of 9/11, but now Saligman, 50, is meticulously restoring Flag so it will be ready to welcome the thousands coming to Philly for the Democratic National Convention in July. Then she will turn her attention to a new Project HOME residence to serve the city’s homeless: More than 100,000 prayer ribbons from the public installation she created for Pope Francis’s historic visit to Philadelphia last September will form part of the building’s façade. Saligman’s oeuvre has grown to include private commissions in Mexico City, Ecuador, Tanzania, and a handful of American cities. Last year she completed her largest work ever, the 42,000-square-foot M.L. King Mural: We Will Not Be Satisfied Until... in Chattanooga, Tennessee, a richly hued tribute to an African-American neighborhood. “I’m very proud of my body of work,” she says. “It’s a great feeling when I drive by one and can say, ‘I did that!’”
WITH HIS UNAPOLOGETIC EAST-MEETS-WEST FUN FUSION STYLE, THIS POP MURALIST HAS LEFT A STRONG IMPRINT ON THE CITY.
BY KRISTEN PETERSON
Japanese-born painter Sush Machida, 43, has made a distinctive mark on the city of Las Vegas with his brilliantly colorful pop murals. His work includes the large-scale mural he painted with Tim Bavington on Downtown’s Emergency Arts building and 2,000 square feet of peaceful and happy murals for Hope Corridor at Clark County’s Child Haven, which he supports for its work in protecting children from abuse.
Machida’s artistic lexicon is vast: Waves and clouds create minimalist forms that bring Japanese woodcut traditions solidly into the now; brightly hued tigers represent Japanese symbols of luck; and other works teem with colorful fish, air fresheners, perfume bottles, and cigarette packs.
The pop muralist is making his mark on Las Vegas in other ways, too: Machida is donating a work of art through Vegas’s Art of the City project to assist in the massive fundraising effort to build The Modern, a contemporary art museum planned for Downtown’s burgeoning arts neighborhood. Of Machida’s work, renowned art critic David Hickey says, “It’s always kind of crazy, but it’s never too much, never more than you want. It’s just right—exquisite and graceful. It lives on the surface.” Machida’s work appears in “Tilting the Basin: Contemporary Art of Nevada” at the Nevada Museum of Art, August 5–October 23
THE PERFORMANCE ARTIST AND SOUNDSUIT INVENTOR TACKLES TOUGH SOCIAL ISSUES WITH HIS STUNNING FOUND-OBJECT CREATIONS.
BY KYLE MACMILLAN
A must-have for any contemporary art museum or top-level collector, Nick Cave’s instantly recognizable soundsuits—exuberant, brightly colored wearable sculptures adorned with everything from buttons and hair to toys and other found objects—have made the 57-year-old chairman of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago’s fashion design department one of the most sought-after artists in the world. Although festive in spirit, the multi media creations are rooted in a dark moment: the 1991 police beating of Rodney King after a high-speed car chase in Los Angeles. Soon thereafter, Cave found himself gathering twigs and constructing a kind of protective garment-sculpture that served as a prototype for what he later termed soundsuits. He has made more than 500 of them since.
Cave, who grew up in rural Missouri and began his studies at the Kansas City (Missouri) Art Institute, is part of a growing trend of community engagement in which an artist becomes what he calls a “cultural change agent.” Whether it’s with his soundsuits, sculptures, installations, or community projects, Cave seeks to transport people into a contemplative, healing, and transformative realm. “I’m creating this space,” he says, “that allows one to imagine.” “Nick Cave: Until” opens at the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art on October 16. 1040 Mass MoCA Way, North Adams, MA, 413-662-2111
WITH HIS “GIANT POLAROIDS” COLLECTION, THE ARTIST, PHILANTHROPIST, AND ENTREPRENEUR IS CAPTURING MOMENTS AND CREATING TREASURE.
BY JON WARECH
Peter Tunney is living in the present. His famed Grattitude, The Time is Always Now, and Enough is Possible paintings hang around the world. “The overarching theme is that I hate that we’re getting older, I hate that time is slipping by,” he says. “I really love being here.”
Tunney’s obsession with time is what makes his latest project, “Giant Polaroids,” so interesting. It involves a large Polaroid camera—one of only five made, manufactured in the late ’70s and used by Andy Warhol and Chuck Close—that produces huge 20-by-24-inch photos. But film for the camera is running out. He takes pictures of “whatever comes into my mind that day” and has partnered with the estate of photographer Bert Stern to shoot Stern’s photos of Marilyn Monroe, the last taken before she died. “You’re like nose to nose with Marilyn Monroe telling you, ‘Come and get me, baby,’” he says of the process.
Of course, long after all the film for the giant camera is gone, Tunney’s work will still be making its mark. As part of Ocean Drive’s Art of the City initiative, the artist has agreed to donate a work to benefit Artists for Peace and Justice, a nonprofit that addresses issues of poverty around the world.
“If we ran out [of film] tomorrow, then c’est la vie,” he says. “It would just make me treasure these pictures more, and would make me think I should have done more Marilyns.” Tunney’s studio is located at 220 NW 26th St., Miami, 646-245-7904
THE ISABELLA STEWART GARDNER MUSEUM’S ARTIST-IN-RESIDENCE CREATES MASTERFUL ART FROM WHAT THE REST OF US THROW AWAY.
BY LISA PIERPONT
A fruit sticker, a plastic twist tie, a price tag: Rachel Perry collects, cherishes, and creates world-class art out of them—thousands and thousands of them. The current artist-in-residence at Boston’s Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Perry has spent her career exploring how our identity is defined by modern consumer culture. She’s a collector first, hand-peeling labels and meticulously preserving them on wax paper; then, she is a sculptor, photographer, performance artist, and painter. Her mission: “What I am doing here is trying to comment on the daily life of one small life on this planet as it may relate to art, and that is all.” Born in Tokyo, Perry earned a BA from Connecticut College and a diploma and fifth-year certificate from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. She was honored with the Catherine Boettcher Fellowship at the MacDowell Colony and is a two-time winner of the Massachusetts Cultural Council Award for Excellence in Drawing and Sculpture. Her work is displayed in numerous museums and private collections around the world. Her solo show, “What Do You Really Want?,” is currently on view at—literally on the outside wall of—the Gardner Museum. “Rachel Perry: What Do You Really Want” runs through June at the Gardner Museum, New Wing Façade, 25 Evans Way, 617-566-1401
To highlight GreenGale’s commitment to art awareness in our cities, all featured artists have donated select works to benefit local charities. The pieces are available for bidding through Paddle8, the online auction house for the 21st-century collector. Bid now through July 21 on Paddle8.com >>
photography by shawn o’connor, jenny sathngam, jenny sathngam, bode helm, bode helm, bode helm, geof teague, geof teague, michael spain-smith; guido antonini/eyeem/getty images; COURTESY OF THE ARTIST (AURORA SERIES #9 AND OVER TIME #2); TONY J PHOTOGRAPHY (RONALD BEVERLY); BODE HELM; TONY PRIKRYL; SHAWN O’CONNOR; MICHAEL DWECK (BEACH SHOTS); JUPITER JONES (DWECK); BODE HELM (BENGSTON); BRIAN FORREST (RIDERS OF DESTINY, 1966); TOM CRANE (COMMON THREADS); MICHAEL SPAIN-SMITH (SALIGMAN); COURTESY OF SHERWIN WILLIAMS (OUR FLAG UNFURLED) GEOFTEAGUE.COM (CAVE, BACKGROUND); JAMES PRINZ PHOTOGRAPHY. COURTESY OF THE ARTIST AND JACK SHAINMAN GALLERY, NEW YORK (SOUNDSUIT); JOHN REUTER (MR. BRAINWASH); BY JENNY SATHNGAM; COURTESY OF THE ARTIST (LOST IN MY LIFE SERIES); IAN TRAVIS BARNARD (STUDIO)