Dog Star / A Creative Arts Guide






Image above: Vik Muniz

A Bar at the Folies-Bergère after Édouard Manet, from the Pictures of Magazines 2 series, 2012.

Out of the refuse of modern life—torn scraps of outdated magazines, destined for obscurity—Muniz has assembled an ode to one of the first paintings of modern life. Édouard Manet’s A Bar at the Folies-Bergère, painted in 1882, explores the treachery of nineteenth-century Parisian nightlife through the depiction of a bartender attending to a male patron reflected in the mirror behind her. Muniz plays on Manet’s style, replacing Manet’s visible brushstrokes with the frayed edges of torn paper and lending the work immense visual interest.

“Thank you for DogStarNYC, in general. The site speaks to so many kinds of interests; it discerns which qualities will appeal to many different tastes in a tremendous number of activities. I love how it encourages young people to pay attention to the unusual.

In New York we let so many teens walk around the periphery, mildly shell-shocked by life, while the information that they need to make sense of their world sits in the center of the room. DogStarNYC welcomes them into the middle of the room; the blog tells them how to walk there. ” - Stacy L.


DOG STAR is the creation of a high school English teacher in New York City. This blog began in 2008 as an online community for a journalism class and has since evolved into a curated site on the creative arts, arts-related news and a guide to free and low-cost events for teens. Our mission is to offer teens real-life options for enjoying all the creative arts in New York City. May wisdom guide you and hope sustain you. The more you like art, the more art you like!

IMPORTANT NOTICE OF NON COMMERCIAL & EDUCATIONAL CONTENT Unless otherwise stated, we do not own copyrights to any of the visual or audio content that might be included on this blog. Dog Star is for criticism, commentary, reporting and educational purposes under the FAIR USE ACT: Copyright Disclaimer Under Section 107 of the Copyright Act 1976, allowance is made for "fair use" for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research. Fair use is a use permitted by copyright statute that might otherwise be infringing. Non-profit, educational or personal use tips the balance in favor of fair use. If you own the copyright to any images and object to them being included in this blog, please advise and the content will be removed. No attempt is made for material gain from this blog's content.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Meet a Photographer: Sally Mann

DOG STAR knows our readers want to know, NEED to know what is worth seeing.  The upcoming show of new photography by Sally Mann called "Proud Flesh" at Gagosian Gallery will be worth seeing.  In the past Sally has faced controversy because she took portraits of her nude children.  She has also taken pictures of landscapes.  Now, she has a series in which she examines her husband - he suffer from muscular dystrophy.  The pictures show fragility, stillness, frustration and endurance.  There is a quiet suffering and a celebration in these pictures and to see them up close - like a free visit to the gallery - gives each of us a chance to experience Sally Mann's feelings and vision of her family.

Gagosian Gallery is at 980 Madison Avenue (between 76th Street & 77th Street) - take 6 train to 75tth Street and Lexington Avenue and walk west to Madison Avenue and then go south to 980 Madison Avenue

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Labor Day Activities (Mon, Sept 7)

DOG STAR recommends one of these activities for your upcoming Labor Day:

West Indian Day Parade - along Eastern Parkway in Brooklyn
If you haven't attended - and have some pre-conceived ideas about what you are sure it will be like - then toss those out and find out for yourself, finally!  DOG STAR, of course, goes for the food and the music - the ear popping thumping of reggae and reggae-rock from large flat bed trucks and the rows and rows of home cooking for sale along Eastern Parkway.  Crews spent the last six months designing and crafting elaborate costumes and parade floats.  Actually the events begin this week with free concerts and promotions.

Metropolitan Museum - Open for Holiday Mondays from 9:30-5:30
Why not take advantage of one last chance to see Roxy Paine's outrageous roof terrace sculpture?  (DOG STAR's young cousins Maya and Andrea liked it a lot!)  Many other exhibits on view, too, and it should be pretty empty considering it is a holiday weekend.

Funny Stuff!

Art Under the Bridge

DOG STAR enjoys the good weather we've been having and hopefully we'll continue to have it through September.  (They aren't called the "dog days" of summer for no reason!)

One possibility - if the rain stays away - is to take the F train to York Street and enjoy a weekend of art, experiment, outdoor installations and general good times in DUMBO (Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass).

If you've never been to the state park beneath the Brooklyn Bridge that extends north to the Manhattan Bridge, you have missed the opportunity to get pretty close to the East River.  No swimming allowed!
ART UNDER THE BRIDGE takes over the area September 25-27.

3 Great Houses, 1 Great Summer!

June:  Phillip Johnson's The Glass House
New Cannan, CT
A very hot day!  DOG STAR has already reported on this house but wants to share some recent thoughts:  This is the first house in the summer architecture tour and differs from the others in that Johnson designed and built it for himself.  The other two below were designed and built for clients.  The Glass House began life as drawings and sketches in 1945 and was completed in 1949.  It would be the first of several buildings on Johnson's estate.  Why is it so special?  Johnson built a house that was unique for its time (floor to ceiling glass walls, flat roof, no decorative elements) and influenced generations of architects later to consider this groundbreaking design.  More here...

July:  Frank Lloyd Wright's Fallingwater
Bear Run, PA
A cool and sunny day!  Nothing prepares a visitor to see this house up close from the inside, outside and from the terraces overlooking the waterfall.  Photographs give a small sense of the unique character of this house but it can truly only be appreciated by a visit.  Here's why:  Wright intended the house to be enjoyed from the inside - the sound of the falls, the intimacy with rocks and trees - and rather design and build a home for his client - Edgar Kaufman - that gave them a VIEW of the falls, the house becomes intimately connected to the landscape.  Interestingly, both Johnson (above) and Le Corbusier (below) were strictly doing what is now called "modernist architecture" or the "international style."  What Wright achieves is some of the very best of these two younger architects (the flat lines, the rectangular/horizontal shapes and views, minimal decoration) and makes it his very own style.  Completed in 1934!  More here...

August:  Le Corbusier's Villa Savoye
Poissy, France
Also a very sunny and cool day in a suburb of Paris, France!  A word about the architect's funny name:  this Swiss-born architect was definitely thinking about how to make himself into a celebrity when he began calling himself "Le Corbusier."  His real name is Charles-Édouard Jeanneret-Gris.  And he was famous!  The client - Pierre Savoye (pronounced sav-wa) - was an insurance executive from Paris who wanted a weekend home.  Le Corbusier gave them a highly unusual home in 1929 that he used to show off his rules for architecture called the Five Points.  Look for other pictures of the interior online to discover how the home becomes a playground for space and interaction - including a roof terrace just off the living room on the second floor.  On the ground floor is the garage for three cars and the chauffer's bedroom.   During World War II the Germans used it as a base camp to store supplies.  Later the town of Poissy wanted to demolish it and build a school.  It was saved from the bulldozer after much protest!

Monday, August 17, 2009

City Concealed: Secret Places in NYC

DOG STAR readers have their favorite spots: a park bench in the neighborhood playground, office towers with just the right ledges out front for skating and even "the spots" for favorite times hanging with friends. A special series on our city public television channel features "The City Concealed" - short video about unknown, scary and out-of-the-way places around NYC.

Here for link to the video series - you can watch them online immediately!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Wayne Pate Makes Cool Art!

DOG STAR enjoys sharing the work of artists we like.  Wayne Pate's artwork has a unique voice, simple, yet full of graphic wonder and interesting compositions.  We like this Brooklyn silkscreen print and have it hanging over our desk in - yes, you guessed - the Brooklyn-based DOG STAR offices.

Family Guy's Stewie Comes Out of the Closet

DOG STAR is not a fan of many TV shows but "Family Guy" is the exception.  It is vulgar and crude and impolite and politically incorrect most of the time - and creator Seth McFarland's wacky world of characters always entertains us.  We were intrigued, then, about the news reports that a future episode may have Stewie coming out of the closet.  Now, here at the DOG STAR offices we're not sure if this a good or bad thing for "gay rights progress," but we'll leave that up to you to decide.  (We also wanted half-a-reason to post a gratutitous photo of a Family Guy character, LOL!)  Read more here...

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Brooklyn Book Festival Coming Soon!

DOG STAR is a reader - could cancel cable and survive on books and radio alone! - and looks forward to any FREE opportunity to hear writers read from their work.  Brooklyn Book Festival returns to the plaza around Borough Hall in downtown Brooklyn on Saturday, September 13.

Francine Prose (here) will read as part of a group on New Russian literature.  Other programming has yet to be announced but check their site.  Here for more...

Harlem Week Means a Month of Fun!

DOG STAR knows we all love a free show - and Harlem Week organizers are presenting many free activities and outdoor concerts through the end of August.  Harlem Week began as a week-long celebration of Harlem but has grown - in its 35th year - to include a month of events.

We recommend you see the full calendar here...

Our top pick is the mobile jazz
concert with the fantastic drummer:
Winard Harper to perform live!  
Wednesday, August 19 at 7pm
at Grant National Memorial Park (President Grant's Tomb!)
Riverside Drive between
120th & 124th Streets

Discover Wave Hill in the Bronx (Really!)

DOG STAR joined a group of teens at Wave Hill this week.  The view in the photo above is from the gardens east of the Greenhouses.  Looking west - the background of the photo - is across the Hudson River and a view of the Palisades, a permanently protected forest reserve in New Jersey.  At Wave Hill we sketched, took photos and lounged around on the wood chairs scattered around the grounds.  We also enjoyed the art exhibit by contemporary artists in the air-conditioned art gallery!

Wave Hill is a city-owned property although it is run as a private organization.  Admission is usually $6.00 for adults and $3.00 for students.  On Tuesdays and Saturdays it is free from 9am-12pm.  It is easy to reach by subway and Metro-North trains.  At both these stations a shuttle bus can take you to the front gate.  Our group opted for the Metro-North from Grand Central and walked up the hill from the station on Independence Avenue in Riverdale.  

DOG STAR encourages everyone to visit and walk the grounds - you don't even have to have an art project in mind when you go (but you may end up with a few inspired ideas by the time you leave).  More here...

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Chelsea Art Museum: Iran Inside Out

Photo above:  Pooneh Maghazehe, Hell's Puerto Rico Performance Still, Digital C-print 2008 copyright artist and courtesy Leila Taghinia-Milani Heller Gallery

Chelsea Art Museum has a spectacular show on contemporary art by Iranian and Iranian-American artists.  The show is only on until September 5 but a visit here is FREE for high school students.  One possible itinerary is to see this show (at 22nd St. & 11th Avenue), stop in other art galleries on the block or around the corner (always free!) and then walk over to the entrance to The High Line nearby - the new public park on old elevated railway tracks.  An entrance to the park is around the corner at 20th Street and 10th Avenue.

FREE! Kayak in cove between two bridges

"Just as you feel when you look on the river and sky, so I felt..."
- Walt Whitman, from "Crossing Brooklyn Ferry", 1856

Those who know DOG STAR know of our country roots so canoeing, boating and kayaking were definitely a part of our childhood adventures.

New Yorkers have an extraordinary and free opportunity to experience kayaking on the East River for the next three weekends. This will be far better than DOG STAR's mosquito nightmare in the swamps and watery byways along the Hudson in upstate New York.

Brooklyn Bridge Park Conservancy has organized the kayaking and rowing with a number of Brooklyn-based groups. Show up before 2pm for first-come chance to try boating. Those under 18 will need to have an adult with them - lifejackets and legal issues involved, you know. Here for more...

Discover Henry Darger: An Original American Artist!


Henry Darger (1892 - 1973), Chicago

When DOG STAR first heard about Henry Darger, we were a little stunned at the sheer nuttiness of his artistic enterprise. We're being honest. After his death in 1973, his landlord discovered that the quiet janitor had created a 15,000 page "graphic novel" about a fictional world in which little girls (?) or children were constantly under attack. He collected all kinds of materials to include in these drawings and all of them are related panels to tell a story.

The American Folk Art Museum is devoting an intimate gallery on the fourth floor to rotating exhibitions focusing on a single theme. The first of these showcases eight of the nearly three hundred watercolors Henry Darger created to illustrate his 15,000-page manuscript The Story of the Vivian Girls, in what is Known as the Realms of the Unreal, of the Glandeco-Angelinnian War Storm, Caused by the Child Slave Rebellion. Volume 6 of that epic is also on view. One part of the exhibit closes Sept. 6 and then another on Darger's use of coloring books opens later in the month.
FREE after 5:30pm EVERY Friday! This summer they also have live music!

The museum is home to the single largest public repository of works by Henry Darger (1892-1973), one of the most significant artists of the twentieth century. The works on view in "Up Close: Henry Darger" are drawn from this extensive collection.

Beetlejuice Creator to be Honored at MoMA

DOG STAR once travelled to Berlin and stayed at a hotel with other celebrity guests.  Unknowingly it was the summer "Planet of the Apes" was opening across Europe and Tim Burton was staying here too and giving press conferences in a lobby meeting room.

In a moment of "Life imitating art," Burton was up bright and early and we shared an elevator ride down to the lobby.  We recognized him because he had on dark shades and was completely still - like a zombie.  He grunted responses to his assistant.  He didn't use or hold a cell phone or anything else.  We believe this press tour was not his cup of tea.

Burton’s visionary filmmaking is the subject of a major MoMA exhibition (November 22, 2009-April 26, 2010), which will trace the current of Burton’s visual imagination, from his earliest childhood drawings through his mature work in film. Included will be 700 examples of rarely or never-before-seen drawings, paintings, storyboards, moving-image works, puppets, maquettes, costumes, and cinematic ephemera, and an extensive film series spanning Burton’s 27-year career.   Remember, always FREE for teenagers!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

The Future Beneath Us

DOG STAR saw this exciting exhibit too late to spread the word to our readers.  It has now closed.  However, it is exciting to know about our changing - and improving - future lives as New Yorkers.  The online companion site offers a terrific (virtual) opportunity to explore eight major public projects happening 24 hours each day beneath our feet.  Here for more...

Teens Lives in Comics (Tenement Museum)

Sonam, Lizbeth and Adriana (l. to r.) are three teens featured in a web comic series about real immigrants living in New York City.  The site is a project of the Lower East Side Tenement Museum.  Navigate the webcomics and you will find out more about their lives and what it's been like moving to America.  The site is also unique and very creative and includes a list of resources for immigrants and their friends.  Here for the site!

Visit Tom's Studio this October!

Open House NYC is a a free annual event in October.  Someone just reminded DOG STAR about it because LENS MASTER had a photo of a Tom Otterness sculpture in his MoMA teen show.

Huh?  See, every October hundreds of sites across the city open their doors to the public for tours and dialogue.  One year we missed the chance to visit the sculpture studio of Tom Otterness (picture at left).  When DOG STAR saw a photo by LENS MASTER of an Otterness piece we thought of the Open House NYC tours.

Maybe you know these sculptures?  All along the subway platform at 14th Street & 8th Avenue (the A line) whimsical little figures cast in bronze stand around, collect money and gaze at an alligator coming out of a faux-sewer grate.  

We checked the Open House schedule for this October and Tom's Brooklyn studio is included again!  We will definitely go this year - maybe we'll see you there!

Bachata Legends THIS WEEKEND!

Bachata Roja Legends
Dominican Cultural festival with live music, vendors, dancing
P.S. 161 ball fields - entrance at Amsterdam Avenue and 134th Street
Saturday, August 15 - Gates open 2:00pm

Michael Jackson & Egyptian Sculpture

The Chicago Sun-Times' Michael Sneed reported Wednesday morning about an Egyptian bust that resembled Michael Jackson on display in Inside Ancient Egypt, which opened in 1988 at the Field Museum. This bust of an Egyptian woman is nearly 3,000 years old, yet the resemblance to the late King of Pop is uncanny. The bust has been a part of the Museum's collection since 1899 and was collected by Edward Ayer, who spearheaded the founding of the Museum. More...

FREE! Photos of Vanishing Storefronts

"The Disappearing Face of New York" is a fascinating photography show at Clic Gallery that captures, literally, the rapid destruction of store fronts that were called traditional, "old new York" and certainly unique.

DOG STAR remembers this storefront (pictured top) of a discount retailer on Chambers Street, just west of Broadway.

What makes these photographs so valuable and interesting to see - not only as a record of the changing face of New York City - is all the ways a storefront presents itself: typeface/lettering, bold colors, and storefronts with their own identity and personality. What we get most of the time today are sterile awnings and signage that merely state the name of a storefront and nothing else.

DOG STAR readers have plenty of time to see this show - any subway to Canal Street and then walk north on Centre Street. Clic Gallery has a few shows in three locations nearby so why not check those out too?

Get Up Close to Anish Kapoor Sculpture!

FROM ARTDAILY.ORG: Memory (2008), a major new site-specific sculpture installation by leading international artist Anish Kapoor, will be on view at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum from October 21, 2009, to March 28, 2010 as part of the Deutsche Bank Series at the Guggenheim. Anish Kapoor: Memory is the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation’s first collaboration with the artist, who is celebrated for his expansive and profound aesthetic vision. The work is the 14th in a series of artist projects commissioned by Deutsche Bank and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation for the Deutsche Guggenheim in Berlin. More...

Monday, August 10, 2009

Fashionistas: Discover New Heroes!

DOG STAR knows there is a little bit of a fashion hound in all of us - especially living in NYC. What this means is even if we do not wear the very latest in what's hot (DOG STAR is definitely wearing WHAT'S NOT most of the time) we certainly catch a glimpse and make a mental note of someone on the subway with...colored laces in their sneakers, an unusual jacket or logos on sleeves we've never seen before.

Isabel Toledo (here) has been in the fashion business for a long time - although she designed Michelle Obama's inauguration dress (here) she is not an "overnight sensation." Isabel - who collaborates with her artist husband Ruben Toldeo - has always quietly and consistently created wonderful clothing for women under the radar of what's trendy and "now." And she likes it like that.

The Museum at F.I.T. on Seventh Avenue & 27th Street is honoring Isabel's designs and creativity with a wonderful, FREE show of her work through September 26.

It's easy to reach - and open Tues - Fri Noon - 8pm , Saturday 10am - 5pm. Closed Sundays, Mondays, and legal holidays. Did we mention it's FREE?

If you enjoy fashion design and creative collaboration, give yourself a chance to meet the world of Isabel Toledo. Maybe she'll become a new hero for you!

Fall Classes for Teens at MoMA

DOG STAR knows a few teens (their nicknames:  Diesel model, Lu-go Lu-yo!, awesome sauce, lens master and manga artiste) who have taken the free classes for teens at Museum of Modern Art and they all report the same thing:  you will have fun, meet new people outside of school and discover talents for making art you did not know about.

And while you're at MoMA for one of these classes, you'll be able to visit van Gogh's "The Starry Night" any time!  (Notice the thick brush-strokes and layers of color - in person, not by looking at the reproduction!)

Each class meets once each week and is open to any public or private New York City high school student.  A brief application is required but it's nothing scary or that you can't handle.

DOG STAR also wants to push these classes for another reason:  When you have taken one of these classes - or any of the museum or community-based activities - you have a real and meaningful experience to describe to employers and college admission folks.

Some teens use the experience on the personal statement for college.  Others have told DOG STAR that during an interview for a job, the mention of MoMA caught the attention of the interviewer and the other teens in the room went, "Huh?"

Many programs are available for teens outside of school.  Most are free.  Use the toolbar at left (scroll down) to the list called "Programs for Teens Outside School" and make it your goal to apply - and get accepted - to at least ONE of them this fall.

The High 5 for Teens critics program is another exceptional opportunity:  see off-Broadway and Broadway shows for FREE and be part of a teen team of theater critics through discussion, writing, posting blogs and writing reviews of the shows.

About the painting at the top of this post:

The Starry Night

Vincent van Gogh (Dutch, 1853-1890)

Saint Rémy, June 1889. Oil on canvas, 29 x 36 1/4 

"This morning I saw the country from my window a long time before sunrise," the artist wrote to his brother Theo, "with nothing but the morning star, which looked very big." Rooted in imagination and memory, The Starry Night embodies an inner, subjective expression of van Gogh's response to nature. In thick sweeping brushstrokes, a flamelike cypress unites the churning sky and the quiet village below. The village was partly invented, and the church spire evokes van Gogh's native land, the Netherlands.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Burning Man

Annual Gathering in Nevada Desert
Draws Artists and Spectators to World's
Largest Outdoor Creative Arts Festival

Burning Man is an annual creative arts festival in the desert 90 miles east of Reno, Nevada.  DOG STAR has never been and doesn't plan a field trip soon (camping, constant dirt and grime, few facilities and almost 50,000 people...hmmm...not anytime soon!). is the possibility to be witness to some amazing spectacles that has kept Burning Man alive and popular - and most likely to get us out there - as some of these pictures show.  We pulled these pics from the BM website where you can enjoy whole galleries by many talented photographers.

If you are curious about what it's like to attend, the website has guides, first-person experiences and planning a visit areas.

This year the festival (which costs $300.00 just to enter the festival area) runs August 31 through Sept. 7.  On Sept. 5 the tradition of burning the giant effigy of "The Man" takes place with much partying and celebration.

Burning Man is considered generally diverse across ages, genders and cultures.

HOG for Kids: Photography Fundraiser for Impoverished Children in Dominican Republic

NEW YORK, NY (EFE). After traveling around 19 states on his Harley-Davidson motorcycle, Dominican-born photographer Gustavo Fernandez ended in New York a trip during which he photographed families in exchange for their promise to sponsor a child in the Dominican Republic.  His trip is called HOG for Kids.

Gustavo works in the San Francisco Bay-area as a wedding photographer.  

"Growing up in the Dominican Republic, from the time I was a child I saw the nation's poverty," Fernandez said in an interview with Efe. 

On his Harley, Fernandez has crossed the U.S. from coast to coast in 28 days, his only companion the camera with which he has shot portraits of 18 families. 

In exchange for the photos, each family promised to sponsor at least one child in the Dominican Republic for a year. 

"The parents of the sponsored children earn no more than $100 a month, and without economic aid from sponsors, those kids would have no future," the photographer said. 

Saturday, August 8, 2009

FREE Museums Report: At all times these museums are free!

The Center for Book Arts

The Forbes Galleries

The Grolier Club

Harbor Defense Museum

Hebrew Union College—Jewish Institute of Religion

The Hispanic Society of America

Jeffrey’s on Essex @ the Essex Street Market: Cuchifritos Art Gallery

The Korea Society Gallery

Lefferts Historic House

Leo Baeck Institute New York

Little Red Lighthouse

The Museum at FIT

The Museum of American Illustration at the Society of Illustrators

The New York Public Library: Humanities and Social Sciences Library

The New York Public Library: Library for the Performing Arts

The New York Public Library: Science, Industry and Business Library

Nicholas Roerich Museum

Onassis Cultural Center

Queens County Farm Museum

Rose Museum at Carnegie Hall

Scandinavia House—The Nordic Center in America

Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture

Statue of Liberty & Ellis Island Immigration Museum

Swiss Institute

The UBS Art Gallery

A NYC Museum SMALLER Than Your Apartment!

City Reliquary in Williamsburg is a fascinating and unique museum.  It is a very small private museum with a permanent collection of odd NYC artifacts.  It welcomes the perspectives of NYC natives and newcomers and sees itself as the collector of individual NYC histories.  The Museum of the City of New York, on the other hand, would see itself as the collector of public histories - the broadly historical experience of the widest public (one example is Henry Hudson's voyage on the river that has his name).

City Reliquary began as a WINDOW display on Grand Street.  They museum still displays parts of its collection in this display window (photo above) and here's why:  when we think of a museum, what we don't normally think about is what we see every day.  The storefront window presents something people can see as they pass on their way to the subway.

Their new location - smaller than your apartment - is easy to reach:  Take the L into Brooklyn, get off at Lorimer and walk BACK (east direction, you should walk along Metropolitan Avenue and go under the BQE highway above your head) to 370 Metropolitan Avenue.  Open 12-6pm on Saturdays and Sundays.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Media That Matters

Media That Matters is a non-profit organization that promotes public awareness of critical social issues through short documentary films.  Every year they sponsor a film festival with an awards ceremony and prizes.  Many of the films are produced by community groups and teenagers who learn film-making in workshops across the country.

All of the films in their film festivals may be watched for free on their website.  All films are under 12 minutes long.  The length is an important part of their mission:  to show / watch films to get the conversation started in communities and schools.

The short films are organize don their website by topic and by film festival:  it's easy to find one to watch and find out more about what's going on in other people's lives, what they face and why it matters that we know about it.  More importantly, perhaps it will urge one of us to take action in our communities.

DOG STAR recently watched the film "All that I Can Be" about a 23-year old in NYC who decides to join the military.  The film was created and produced by teenagers who participated in after-school programs at the Educational Video Center in midtown.

Sadly, William's story is not unique:  he feels trapped in a dead-end job and feels the Army will give him more options.  Watch the video and find out how his decision impacts him.

One of the goals of the film is to get out the message that there are alternatives to the military for teens.  One organization linked at the site is called Military Free Zone.    This organization promotes college resources and alternative views about military recruitment practices.  Check it out and make informed decisions for yourself!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

ART OF THE DAY: Jacob Lawrence

ABOVE:  The railroad stations in the South were crowded with people leaving for the North

ABOVE:  In every home people who had not gone North met and tried to decide if they should go North or not

ABOVE:  Child labor and a lack of education was one of the other reasons for people wishing to leave their homes

After posting the Georgia O'Keefe painting on view at the Brooklyn Museum and after seeing the Jacob Lawrence Migration Series (again!) at the Museum of Modern Art, Dog Star begins a regular series Art of the Day.  However, instead of some random artwork from around the world, Art of the Day will have a real focus:  Art currently hanging either in museums, in galleries, artist-run spaces or in public that we can meet in person.  Art we can actually go and check out for ourselves!

Today's visit to MoMA - a few Dog Star readers and their friends enjoyed a celebration following summer art classes for teens - was exceptional, in part, because we got to see a series we hadn't seen in a long time.  Joyfully, Jacob Lawrence's Migration Series is on view at MoMA and is in their permanent collection.  Well, half of it anyway.

Harlem-born Jacob was only in his twenties when gallery owner and art dealer Edith Halpert was brought to his studio.  Jacob worked in a small studio - the door was held shut with a piece of string - in the Harlem Community Arts building on 125th Street.  Alain Locke brought Edith to meet Jacob and he showed her the 60-panel Migration Series.

Based on his family's stories, his own research and the lives of Harlem residents, Jacob created a multi-part series about the African American experience of migrating from Southern states to Northern cities.

Edith knew right away that she had met a great talent.  She agreed to give him his first one-man show that November.  She later tried to convince MoMA to purchase all sixty panels.  They wouldn't go for it - but did they did agree to buy HALF the panels (they bought all the even-numbered panels).  Edith convinced Duncan Phillips to buy the other thirty and these became part of the museum he founded in Washington, D.C. called The Phillips Collection.

So, make a point of visiting MoMA to see Jacob Lawrence's wonderful panels - as you get off the escalator on the 5th floor, go immediately to your left and they hang on the wall, to meet in person!

Special Note:  Images of the Migration Series are included on both museum websites.  It is possible to see the entire sixty panels online between the two sites.

Looking at Art

What does "looking" at art mean when we pause so
briefly in front of a painting at a museum?

DOG STAR is guilty of it too: Standing in front of a work
of art at the Metropolitan Museum or MoMA or somewhere
else in the city and posing for pictures with our little digital
camera. And then we're off.

Recently DOG STAR went to the Met with a small group of
teenagers with the intention of looking at (and talking about)
the Dogon Couple. It is a fresh experience looking at art -
really looking and noticing details, connections, patterns,
placement - when you savor the looking and allow yourself
to slow it down and not be in such a hurry to see the
next thing in the museum.

These thoughts surfaced again after reading Michael
Kimmelman's short essay on looking at art on his summer
trip to Europe. At the Louvre Museum in Paris (shown in
pic above), Michael asks, "What exactly are we looking for
when we roam as tourists around museums?"

Wednesday, August 5, 2009


Green, Yellow and Orange

    Serpentine curves inspired by natural forms were a mainstay of Georgia O’Keeffe’s art from the earliest years of her career (in the 1910s), when she derived inspiration in part from the turn-of-the-century organic aesthetic of Art Nouveau design. Later in her career, O’Keeffe found new pictorial opportunities in the aerial view, as in this work suggesting the ribbon-like meander of a western river through arid terrain. In examples such as this, her reference to place is almost entirely subsumed by the force of the abstract design.

    DOG STAR saw this painting at the Brooklyn Museum today and wants to share it with DOG STAR readers.

Who Shot Rock & Roll?

DOG STAR is especially fond of rock photography since the best exhibits show talent at their most vulnerable and, paradoxically, at the height of the performance powers:  caught by the camera at just that moment on stage when the show turns over - and its magical.

We are very lucky to get a giant show of classic rock photography coming to the Brooklyn Museum this fall.  The first FREE opportunity to see the show will be the museum's Target First Saturdays on November 7 from 5:00-11:00pm.  It will be exciting to see the fresh way the museum's curator have organized the pics - see below!

If there is enough interest, perhaps a field trip can be arranged!

Henry Diltz: Tina Turner

Henry Diltz (American, b. 1938). Tina Turner, Universal Amphitheater, Los Angeles, California (detail), October 1985. Print from 35mm transparency. © Henry Diltz


October 30, 2009–January 31, 2010
Morris A. and Meyer Schapiro Wing, 5th Floor

Who Shot Rock & Roll is the first major museum exhibition on rock and roll to put photographers in the foreground, acknowledging their creative and collaborative role in the history of rock music.

From its earliest days, rock and roll was captured in photographs that personalized, and frequently eroticized, the musicians, creating a visual identity for the genre.

The photographers were handmaidens to the rock and roll revolution, and their images communicate the social and cultural transformations that rock has fostered since the1950s. 

The exhibition is in six sections:
- rare and revealing images taken behind the scenes
- tender snapshots of young musicians at the beginnings of their careers
- exhilarating photographs of live performances that display the energy passion, style, and sex appeal of the band on stage
- powerful images of the crowds and fans that are often evocative of historic paintings
- portraits revealing the soul and creativity of the musicians
- conceptual images and album covers highlighting the collaborative efforts between the image makers and the musicians