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Out of the refuse of modern life—torn scraps of outdated magazines, destined for obscurity—Muniz has assembled an ode to one of the first paintings of modern life.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.

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Year! - Take a Walk on the Wild Side (Lou Reed's Rock Classic)

Read full lyrics HERE for Walk on the Wild Side - middle video is Jazz great Jimmy Smith performing the song on a Hammond Organ (it sounds real smooth) and check out the bottom video for a fantastic DJ remix of Lou Reed's song and Suzanne Vega's biggest hit.  Make 2012 your best year ever!  Be wild!  Be great!

Discover Great Photography @ ICP in Midtown

Dog Star sometimes wonders: How will we see everything offered this season?  We won't, of course, but we will try to get to the shows that will surprise us or show us something fresh and new.  We are good for a few years on seeing anything at all like the Alexander McQueen show.  It was so intense and overwhelming and in the context of Lee's suicide all the more heartbreaking.  Photography shows are often so varied and so diverse, though, that we could never tire or feel despair from them.  ICP in Midtown (more here) offers three medium-sized shows and we think at least one or more of them will appeal to our devoted teen readers - all on view until January 8, 2012.  ICP IS EASY TO REACH AT 43rd STREET & 6th AVENUE - GO ON FRIDAYS AFTER 5pm AND PAY JUST $1!
Remembering 9/11
In commemoration of the tenth anniversary of the September 11, 2001 attacks, the International Center of Photography is collaborating with the National September 11 Memorial Museum on Remembering 9/11, a major exhibition of photography and video that addresses the issues of memory and recovery from disaster and explores how New Yorkers and volunteers from across the U.S. responded to this inconceivable tragedy.
Harper's Bazaar: A Decade of Style
In the ten years since Glenda Bailey became Editor in Chief of Harper's Bazaar, she and Creative Director Stephen Gan have carried on the magazine's tradition of publishing high-impact photography. This exhibition distills that decade into a 
choice group of nearly thirty images by some of the most important photographers working today, including Peter Lindbergh, Jean-Paul Goude, David Bailey, William Klein, Patrick Demarchelier, Sølve Sundsbø, Tim Walker, Mario Sorrenti, Hiro, Melvin Sokolsky, and Karl Lagerfeld. Among the artists represented are Nan Goldin, Ralph Gibson, and Chuck Close.
Signs of Life: Photographs by Peter Sekaer
The Danish documentary photographer Peter Sekaer (1901–1950) was one of the key contributors to U.S. government 
photographic projects during the Great Depression. Sekaer photographed alongside Walker Evans in the American South during the Farm Security Administration years, and photographs by the two are sometimes indistinguishable.

Maya Angelou's Lesson About Black Speech By John McWhorter

Re-posted from The Root:  In her dismay at Common's use of the n-word, she forgot a point she once made, says John McWhorter.  Maya Angelou's dismay that Common uses the n-word on The Dreamer/The Believer, the album he had her participate in, is understandable in itself. However, in her initial reaction (they appear to have cleared the air since then), she may actually have forgotten a lesson that she herself once taught.  That lesson was that most black Americans can talk in two distinct ways, one formal, the other colloquial -- more specifically, in-group. She put it perfectly in one of my favorite passages from I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings:  We were alert to the gap separating the written word from the colloquial. We learned to slide out of one language and into another without being conscious of the effort. At school, in a given situation, we might respond with "That's not unusual." But in the street, meeting the same situation, we easily said "It be's like that sometimes."  The n-word is a modern manifestation of this distinction. We often hear it discussed as if there were a single word, "nigger," a slur against blacks used by whites, and that our job is to tell black people not to use it among themselves. However, most black people can sense that something isn't quite right in that analysis.  They're right. There isn't just one word. As I have heard even teenagers of modest education explain, there are two. The slur is "nigger." On the other hand, "nigga," pronounced with the sounds typical of exactly the colloquial black dialect Ms. Angelou referred to, is not a slur. It is a term of affection. "Nigga" is black men calling one another "dear."  Read more of the article here.

Friday, December 30, 2011

2011: The Year In 100 Seconds

Priests Brawl at Bethlehem Birthplace

Abstract Painter Helen Frankenthaler Dies

Dog Star is a fan of abstract painter Helen Frankenthaler - we saw a "Late Paintings" show at an uptown gallery last year and was so inspired we went home and painted little versions of her big canvases.  Click here for link to New York Times obituary - a mini-art school education in itself.  Learn about how she became involved with abstract art, how she made a career in a male-dominated field and her influential painting techniques!  Painting below is called "Nature Abhors a Vacuum," from 1973 and it's in the collection of the National Gallery of Art, Washington.  It's one of our favorites!

The Year in Pictures-Part Two

Check out the captions for these images and many more pics here


We ascribe beauty to that which is simple; which has no superfluous parts; which exactly answers its end; which stands related to all things; which is the mean of many extremes.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Dog Star Selects Jib Jab's "2011, Buh-Bye!"

HAVE YOU SEEN IT YET? Life doesn't always seem REAL, sometimes it appears SURREAL.

Dog Star says go see REAL/SURREAL at the Whitney Museum of American Art (more here) for a fantastic show American painters in the years just before, during and just after World War II (a surreal time in history already).  This exhibition, drawn entirely from the deep holdings of the Whitney Museum’s permanent collection, will focus on the tension and overlap between two strong currents in twentieth century art. Although the term “realism” has many facets, a basic connection to the observable world underlies all of them; the subversion of reality through the imagination and the subconscious lies at the heart of Surrealism.  It is on view until February 12.  Whitney Museum IS EASY TO REACH at 77th Street & Madison Avenue and ALWAYS FREE FOR HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS, OPEN UNTIL 9PM ON FRIDAY NIGHTS.  Dog Star talks about two of the paintings in the exhibition below:

Marsden Hartley (1877-1943), The Old Bars, Dogtown, 1936. Oil on composition board

This painting, called "The Old Bars, Dogtown" by Marsden Hartley shows a fairly realistic (believable landscape) in mostly blue-green tones.  However, it does have these jagged "bars" - half-cut trees?  steel bars?  a broken cage of a giant beast? a trap that's been busted?  There is certainly some kind of enclosure formed by "old bars" like a fence.  This gives the painting a slightly off-kilter appearance, a little bit creepy because it's unknowable, really, what the full form and function becomes in this landscape.  What is clear is that it is not an entirely pleasant or idyllic landscape - the rocky terrain would be an uncomfortable setting for a picnic and there's not much view to love here at all except in the distance, beyond the row of trees there appears to be a calmer, gentler place free of this hardness and "cruelty" of subject.  The painting is perfectly comfortable - it's not "trying" to be a Salvador Dali painting (exclusively surrealism) or a Thomas Hart Benton painting (exclusively realism) and it's okay with itself and the world it shows.  We can also see this Hartley painting in another way when we know an important part of the painter's life story:  he was forced to live as a closeted gay man - he could never be fully comfortable in society and was forced to keep his desires, feelings and relations secret in case he was "exposed" and then  stigmatized and isolated by family and society.  We have always believed that a viewer can notice - with some insights - this troubled life in Hartley's paintings.  One of his most famous paintings is a portrait of his dead German army officer boyfriend.  Except it's not a typical portrait at all - to keep the man and the relationship hidden from view Hartley painted a military "masque" of banners, medals, insignia, numbers and initials (see it here).  It can be seen in person right now at the Met Museum as part of their Alfred Stieglitz show since it was owned by the gallery owner who was a good friend to Hartley.

George Tooker (1920–2011), The Subway, 1950. Egg tempera on composition board

In this painting - one of Tooker's most famous - we see a semi-realistic representation of the underground subway platforms (perhaps at 14th Street) that serve as the "middle plane" between the upper world (outside) and the subterranean world (subconscious? dream world?) of the subway tracks and trains.  The "cool" colors don't give away immediately that there is terror, paranoia, suspicion and potential danger present so strongly in nearly every corner of the painting.  This is a brightly lit subway station the better to be able to see ALL the figures and their eyes watching each other, watching the woman at center and watching us back (the viewer) and - us watching them.  And, yet, there is something slightly OFF about this "realistic image" in the way the figures and landscape have a "surreal" look and effect on the viewer.  We can easily begin with the woman at center in the red dress (color can always be taken for symbolic meaning - anger, hatred, blood, murder, violence, passion) and we have to say we usually avoid looking at her, perhaps because everyone else is staring at her and she looks visibly afraid of being there (in the center of all the attention).  Many people have written about how Tooker's paintings (and this one in particular) show the modern sense of alienation and isolation between people who have no more business with each other (as a community) and have only business that makes them consumers (buyers and sellers) in social transactions limited to he exchange of goods and money.  At this very moment captured in Tooker's painting, we wonder: What is everyone so afraid of getting caught doing or seeing?  What would happen if they walked up to each other and simply said, "Hello," and offered their hand.  Or a hug.  Sadly, we think Tooker's painting is just as relevant TODAY in 2011 as it was in 1950:  The terrifying lack of emotional and social interaction between the people in this painting is typically reflected in the subway platforms in our city every day.  For us this painting helps to remind us of something very important: I never want to become someone like the people shown in this painting.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Words to Live By?

A friend posted this on her Facebook wall:  You strengthen people by sending them your loving thoughts. People are doing the best they know how given their backgrounds, circumstances, and beliefs. Rather than judging or criticizing other people, ask yourself what you can do to make their lives better. As you send people your loving thoughts, you strengthen them and support them in attracting good things.  What do you think?  Are these WORDS TO LIVE BY?

FREE Teen Programs at the Met Museum (Register online now!) - Bring your friends!

Dog Star knows there's so much to do and so much to keep up with!  It's important for teens to learn to have work/life balance - spending the right amount of time on school and homework, for example, balanced with leisure time and family responsibilities.  In the same way that it makes a meaningful difference HOW you do school (sit in class and do nothing vs. pay attention / complete classwork / study for exams); it also makes a meaningful difference how you spend your "free time."  We always consider the QUALITY of the experience before we decide to hang and THEN consider who will be there, cost and what it might be like to participate.  These FREE Met Museum programs are a great way for you to grab a few friends and participate in the museum's programs with other teens.  We think these FREE Met Museum programs are HIGH QUALITY ways to spend your precious free time away from family, home, and school life.  Consider registering for at least one, but we've given the whole list and registration is easy CLICK RIGHT HERE and you can sign up for one or all of the programs on the same registration form.  The Met Museum (more here) is EASY TO REACH at 82nd Street and 5th Avenue - Take 4/5/6 trains to 86th Street and walk west to Fifth Avenue.
Renaissance Portraiture and Costume: Celebrate and Create!
Friday, January 27, 2012 - 5:00 p.m. - 6:30 p.m.
Saturday Sketching (Ages 11-18)
Saturdays, 1:00–4:00 p.m.
Oceania—October 8
China—November 12
Ancient Near East—December 10
Medieval—January 14

Discover Heroic Africans in Major Met Museum Exhibit - DO NOT MISS IT! Bring your friends!

Dog Star knows that sometimes African art is a struggle for people because context is often missing from the viewing:  What am I looking at, exactly?  How was this object used? Who made it? What does the tradition look like with this object (mask, bowl, headdress) in a ceremony?  The Met Museum now presents a remarkable exhibition that literally puts names to faces by identifying the African leaders whose portraits are seen in these figures, masks and sculptures.  DO NOT MISS THIS SHOW!  The Met is EASY TO REACH at 82nd Street 7 5th Avenue and ALWAYS FREE FOR H.S. students.
Heroic Africans: Legendary Leaders, Iconic Sculptures
September 21, 2011–January 29, 2012
This major international loan exhibition challenges conventional perceptions of African art. Bringing together more than one hundred masterpieces drawn from collections in Germany, Switzerland, Belgium, the United Kingdom, Portugal, France, and the United States, it considers eight landmark sculptural traditions from West and Central Africa created between the twelfth and early twentieth centuries in terms of the individual subjects who lie at the origins of the representations. Analysis of each of these considers the historical circumstances and cultural values that inform the artistic landmarks presented. The works featured are among the only tangible links that survive, relating to generations of leaders that shaped Africa's past before colonialism, among the Akan of Ghana, ancient Ife civilization and the Kingdom of Benin of Nigeria, Bangwa and Kom chiefdoms of the Cameroon Grassfields, the Chokwe of Angola and Zambia, and the Luluwa, Hemba, and Kuba of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Harnessing materials ranging from humble clay, ubiquitous wood, precious ivory, and costly metal alloys, sculptors from these regions captured evocative, idealized, and enduring likenesses of their individual patrons whose identities were otherwise recorded in ephemeral oral traditions. Read more about the exhibition here.  Shown above in this post: Commemorative figure (detail), 19th–early 20th century. Hemba peoples, Niembo group; Sayi region, Democratic Republic of the Congo. Private collection.

Imaginary Dog Star Soundtrack: Discover great dance music from Hercules & Love Affair

The lights they call me
Call me to your side
The lights they bind me
They take my sight
Will you restore me?
Grace my senses again?
The lights they blind me
Soon he descends
You belong to him tonight
There is nothing I can do
You belong to him tonight
There is nothing I can do
With words unspoken
The truth is revealed
Gates fly open
You chance to be healed
How he adores you
Will I be with you my friend?
The lights they blind me
Soon he descends
You belong to him tonight
There is nothing I can do
You belong to him tonight
There is nothing I can do

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

FREE! Bring your family for the holidays! Enjoy the Met Museum's incredible Christmas Tree in the Medieval Art Gallery (You must see this in person to get the full effect!)

DOG STAR enjoys this annual Neapolitan Christmas tree in the Metropolitan Museum (more here).  The last day to see the tree is January 8!  Remember:  ALWAYS FREE FOR HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS!
The Christmas Tree and Neapolitan Baroque Crèche at The Metropolitan Museum of Art is a long-established yuletide tradition in New York.  The brightly lit, twenty-foot blue spruce—with a collection of eighteenth-century Neapolitan angels and cherubs among its boughs and groups of realistic crèche figures flanking the Nativity scene at its base—once again delight holiday visitors in the Museum's Medieval Sculpture Hall.  Set in front of the eighteenth-century Spanish choir screen from the Cathedral of Valladolid, with recorded Christmas music in the background, the installation reflects the spirit of the holiday season.  The museum is EASY TO REACH at Fifth Avenue & 82nd Street - take 4 / 5/ 6 trains to 86th Street (Lexington Avenue) and walk west to Fifth Avenue.  Closed on Mondays except open on HOLIDAY MONDAYS (more here).  Your high school ID card will get you free admission.  The rest of your family and friends can pay $1 at the admissions desk!

High 5 Offers $5 Tix for Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra - Bring your friends!

Dog Star is a huge fan of hip hop, too, and is a fan of lots of other kinds of music, too.  Devoted readers and teen music fans know that the best way to discover new music is to see and hear it LIVE!  High 5 is offering teens $5 tickets to hear Arturo O'Farril's Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra.  They will play at Symphony Space (Broadway & 95th Street - 1/2/3 trains to 96th Street) on Friday, January 20 at 8pm.  You will need a debit or a credit card to order the tickets on High 5 - click here.  Consider this a New Year's resolution:  be open to hearing music you are not likely to download and then discover you are a new fan!

Arturo O'Farrill Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra from Litchfield Performing Arts on Vimeo.

Street League 2011 Best Of Chaz Ortiz

Monday, December 26, 2011

DJ Earworm Mashup - United State of Pop 2011 (See list of hits below!)

Concords Release (Houston Cats Copped 'Em!)

FREE! Apply NOW for teen digital photography workshop @ NYU

Are you a New York City High School student who wants to study digital photography at NYU Tisch School of the Arts? We are looking for enthusiastic and committed participants. No previous photography experience required. This program is free.  COMMUNITY COLLABORATIONS (COCO) is a digital photography workshop program for high school students in New York City offered by the Department of Photography & Imaging program at NYU Tisch School of the Arts. Twice weekly after-school workshops are taught by NYU students under the supervision of Professor Lorie Novak. The high school students work in the Photography & Imaging Department’s digital labs. Digital cameras are provided for the teens to photograph their families, friends, and communities in order to create images exploring their day-to-day lives, dreams, concerns, and challenges. Go here for more application and more information!

FIVE MUST SEE Photo Exhibits this Winter

Double check to be sure an exhibit has opened before you go - and check the websites for free times and museum hours!
The Loving Story: Photographs by Grey Villet @ ICP (more here)
January 20–May 6, 2012
Forty-five years ago, sixteen states still prohibited interracial marriage. Then, in 1967, the U.S. Supreme Court considered the case of Richard Perry Loving, a white man, and his wife, Mildred Loving, a woman of African American and Native American descent, who had been arrested for miscegenation nine years earlier in Virginia. The Lovings were not active in the Civil Rights movement but their tenacious legal battle to justify their marriage changed history when the Supreme Court unanimously declared Virginia's anti-miscegenation law—and all race-based marriage bans—unconstitutional. Photographer Grey Villet, on assignment for Life magazine, traveled to Virginia, in 1965 to document the Lovings' story. His intimate photographs do not focus on the couple's epic legal battle but instead show the everyday pleasures of two shy and nonpolitical people, their quiet dedication to each other and to their family. The exhibition, organized by Assistant Curator of Collections Erin Barnett, includes some twenty vintage prints loaned by the estate of Grey Villet and by the Loving family.
Weegee: Murder Is My Business @ ICP (more here)
January 20–September 2, 2012
For an intense decade between 1935 and 1946, Weegee (1899–1968) was one of the most relentlessly inventive figures in American photography. His graphically dramatic and often lurid photographs of New York crimes and news events set the standard for what has become known as tabloid journalism. Freelancing for a variety of New York newspapers and photo agencies, and later working as photo editor for the short-lived liberal daily PM (1940–48), Weegee established a way of combining photographs and texts that was distinctly different from that promoted by other picture magazines, such as Life. Utilizing other distribution venues, Weegee also wrote extensively (including his autobiographical Naked City, published in 1946) and organized his own exhibitions at the Photo League.
Police Work: Photographs by Leonard Freed, 1972-1979 @ Museum of the City of NY (more here)
Dec 20 through Mar 18
Police Work: Photographs by Leonard Freed, 1972-1979 features a selection of vintage prints by the Brooklyn-born photographer who documented "life on the beat" with NYPD officers during the tumultuous 1970s. During a time when New York City faced near bankruptcy and was internationally notorious for its high crime rates and social disorder, Freed's photographs reveal the complexity, the harshness, and the camaraderie of the city's public safety servants and the people they protected. Highlighting a recent gift to the Museum of the City of New York by his widow Bridgette Freed, the exhibition is a gritty, realistic portrait of ordinary people doing a "sometimes boring, sometimes corrupting, sometimes dangerous and ugly and unhealthy job."
The Radical Camera: New York's Photo League, 1936-1951 @ The Jewish Museum (more here)
November 04, 2011 - March 25, 2012
In 1936 a group of young, idealistic photographers, most of them Jewish, first-generation Americans, formed an organization in Manhattan called the Photo League. Their solidarity centered on a belief in the expressive power of the documentary photograph and on a progressive alliance in the 1930s of socialist ideas and art. The Radical Camera presents the contested path of the documentary photograph during a tumultuous period that spanned the New Deal reforms of the Depression, World War II, and the Cold War.
Cindy Sherman @ Museum of Modern Art - MoMA (more here)
February 26–June 11, 2012
Cindy Sherman (American, b. 1954) is widely recognized as one of the most important and influential artists in contemporary art. Throughout her career, she has presented a sustained, eloquent, and provocative exploration of the construction of contemporary identity and the nature of representation, drawn from the unlimited supply of images from movies, TV, magazines, the Internet, and art history. Working as her own model for more than 30 years, Sherman has captured herself in a range of guises and personas which are at turns amusing and disturbing, distasteful and affecting. To create her photographs, she assumes multiple roles of photographer, model, makeup artist, hairdresser, stylist, and wardrobe mistress. With an arsenal of wigs, costumes, makeup, prosthetics, and props, Sherman has deftly altered her physique and surroundings to create a myriad of intriguing tableaus and characters, from screen siren to clown to aging socialite.

Go See "Youth & Beauty" @ Brooklyn Museum (Bring your friends! Pay just $1!)

Dog Star is excited about seeing so many of our favorite artists in this exhibition.  The Brooklyn Museum (more here) will present the first wide-ranging exploration of American art from the decade whose beginning and end were marked by the aftermath of World War I and the onset of the Great Depression. Youth and Beauty: Art of the American Twenties, which includes some 138 paintings, sculptures, and photographs by 67 artists, will be on view from October 28, 2011 through January 29, 2012 prior to a national tour.

American life was dramatically transformed in the years following the Great War, as urbanization, industrialization, mechanization, and rampant materialism altered the environment and the way people lived. American artists responded to this dizzying modern world with works that embraced a new brand of idealized realism to evoke a seemingly perfect modern world. The twenties saw a vigorous renewal of figurative art that melded uninhibited body-consciousness with classical ideals. Wheareas images of the modern body were abundant, artists represented American places and things as distilled and largely uninhabited arrangements of pristine forms. Encompassing a wide array of artists, Youth and Beauty celebrates this striking and original modern art and questions its relation to the riotous decade from which it emerged.

The first section of the exhibition’s two primary thematic sections is Body Language: Liberation and Restraint in Twenties Figuration, which investigates the realist portrait, naturally erotic figure subjects, and heroic types. Throughout the twenties, motion pictures, advertising, “healthy body culture,” and the theories of Sigmund Freud all contributed to an era of physical liberation, sensuality, and a near obsession with bodily perfection. Many artists celebrated the modern physical ideal in nude subjects that pictured the newly exposed body freed from conventional restrictions and empowered through fitness or liberating forms of dance. Artists also responded to the rising influence of urban black culture with representations of the idealized black body. Although startlingly direct, these images are also restrained in a way that suggests an uneasiness with the accelerated energy and action of modern life. Works that celebrate this controlled modern physicality include George Wesley Bellows 1924 Two Women, in which a nude and a fully clad figure are juxtaposed in a domestic setting; and Thomas Hart Benton’s 1922 Self-Portrait with Rita, which portrays the bare-chested artist beside his wife, who sports a daring body-revealing swimsuit. Works such as Alfred Stieglitz’s Rebecca Salisbury Strand, a voluptuous nude subject for which the wife of photographer Paul Strand served as a model, display a direct and frank sensuality. John Steuart Curry’s 1928 Bathers, a scene of robust male nudes cooling themselves in a water tank, channels heroic proportions and Renaissance ideals to foreground healthy physicality in an age of rampant automation and urbanization.

The new realism was also apparent in portraits that portray natural beauty with decisive clarity and assertive immediacy. Often cast in the format of the newly popular “close-up,” twenties portraiture emerged from a culture in which advertising prompted rigorous self-scrutiny and current theories of psychology suggested complexly layered personalities. The portraits on view will include Luigi Lucioni’s magnetic 1928 likeness of the young artist Paul Cadmus; Imogen Cunningham’s intimate photograph of the seminal writer Sherwood Anderson; and Romaine Brooks’s stark 1924 portrait of Una, Lady Troubridge, lover of the English novelist Radclyffe Hall.

The exhibition’s second half, Silent Pictures: Reckoning with a New World, explores subjects as diverse as still life and industrial and natural landscapes while highlighting their shared qualities of compositional refinement and muted expression. Painters and photographers depicted the ready-made geometries of industrial towers, stacks, and tanks, and the webs of struts and beams, with little reference to their utilitarian actualities or to human activity. In his masterful 1927 composition My Egypt, Charles Demuth transformed the functional architecture of a massive grain elevator complex into a transcendent composition swept by fan like rays. Charles Sheeler paid homage to modern engineering in his pristine 1927 photograph Ford Plant, River Rouge, Blast Furnace and Dust Catcher, commissioned by Ford’s advertisers. In George Ault’s 1926 Brooklyn Ice House, the artist’s reductive treatment of the industrial buildings and playful description of a black smoke plume result in a compelling combination of the modern and the naive.

Challenged by the sensory assault of the modern urban-industrial world around them, artists also portrayed American landscape settings as precisely distilled and largely uninhabited. Intent on maintaining their own individuality in a new era of mass-production and mass-market advertising, they described the features of more remote American places with a marked intensity and austerity. In Edward Hopper’s 1927 Lighthouse Hill, the forms of architecture and landscape are stripped of incidental details and cast in a transcendent raking light. Georgia O’Keeffe’s 1927 Lake George Barns (one of seven works by the artist in the exhibition), offers a similar hybrid realism, as does Ansel Adams’s 1929 photograph of the sculptural Church at Ranchos de Taos, New Mexico.

In their still-life compositions, American artists of the twenties applied a modernist penchant for essential form to exacting arrangements of insistently simple things. Objects as disparate as flowers, soup cans, razors, eggs, and cocktail shakers, appear in compositions that suggest the new tensions between the traditional and the modern in art and in life. Twenties images such as Peter Blume’s Vegetable Dinner, in which one modern woman enjoys a cigarette while her counterpart peels some humble vegetables, prompts consideration of the individual’s relationship to the larger material world. Imogen Cunningham’s 1929 photograph Calla Lilies embodies a precise, natural perfection akin to modern body ideals, while Gerald Murphy’s 1924 Razor employs a hard-edged billboard aesthetic to foreground the required accessories of the well groomed modern man.

Artist in this post from top to bottom: Gerald Murphy, Aaron Douglas, George Cadmus,  George Ault - All of these paintings are included in the exhibition at the Brooklyn Museum!



The very essence of an instinct is that it is followed independently of reason.
Charles Darwin (1809-1882)

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Imaginary Dog Star Landscapes

FREE! Go See Gingerbread Houses at Le Parker Meridien Lobby - Bring your family and then go see Rock Center Xmas tree!

If you like gingerbread houses—which of course you do, unless your heart is two sizes too small—you'll love the current display in the atrium at Le Parker Meridien hotel, which is in the midst of a holiday "Gingerbread Extravaganza." Pastry chefs from several area restaurants, including Casa Nonna, BLT Steak, and Gramercy Tavern all contributed houses for a fundraiser for City Harvest, the food rescue organization dedicated to feeding the city’s hungry men, women and children. Our favorite, of course, is the Occupy the North Pole house, featuring protesters and, uh, a Swedish Phish phan grovelling for New Year's Eve tickets. It's free to enter the hotel's atrium (located on 56th Street between Sixth and Seventh Avenues), but visitors are encouraged to donate a buck to City Harvest. It's not a complete self-sacrifice, however; that charitable dollar enters you into a raffle for a five night stay at the luxurious Parker Palm Springs. It also gets you a ballot to vote for the best house, with the winner announced on January 6th. We're assuming the victor gets to triumphantly eat all the other loser houses.

Annie Lennox's "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen"

Christmas Cats

Poem: Messiah by Mark Doty (Excerpt)

Aren't we enlarged
by the scale of what we're able
to desire? Everything,
the choir insists,
might flame;
inside these wrappings
burns another, brighter life,
quickened, now,
by song: hear how
it cascades, in overlapping,
lapidary waves of praise? Still time.
Still time to change.

Merry Christmas -You SATISFIED?

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Drake's "The Motto" featuring Lil Wayne & Tyga

Drake ~ The Motto Featuring Lil Wayne & Tyga (Official Video) from OctobersVeryOwn on Vimeo.

Sneakerheads Get Crazy for Concords (from the NY Times)

Rush to Buy New Sneakers Leads to Arrests

Oh, the joys of holiday shopping: the eve of Christmas Eve, Air Jordans and the sting of pepper spray in the eye.

When retailers around the country put the new retro Nike Air Jordan basketball shoe on sale Friday, they were hoping for a modest last-minute boost two days before Christmas. What they got instead was a surge of shoppers so intent on buying a pair of the $180 shoes that in at least a dozen cities the police had to be summoned, and in a few cases, arrests were made.

In Charlotte, N.C., shoppers smashed glass doors to get to the sneakers. In suburban Atlanta, the police made four arrests when a crowd broke down a door to get into a store before it opened. In Richmond, Calif., a man fired a single gunshot in the air just after a mall opened. In Louisville, officers had to stop fights that popped up among a crowd of waiting shoppers. And in a suburb of Seattle, the police used pepper spray.

It wasn’t just any sneaker they were after, but the Air Jordan 11 Retro Concord, a version of the shoe Michael Jordan first wore in 1995 and was promptly fined by the National Basketball Association for failing to conform to the league’s dress-code rules. Once the model was made available to the public, it became a big seller, its black-and-white tuxedo design sometimes substituted for dress shoes.

Early Friday morning, however, police departments unaware of the shoe’s provenance were caught flat footed.

In Tukwila, Wash., south of Seattle, sneaker aficionados started showing up at the Westfield Southcenter Mall before midnight to wait for the shoes to go on sale at 4 a.m.

Mall officials had told the authorities that they expected a crowd of no more than 400 and would need only two police officers to help with security.

But within a couple of hours, 2,000 people were waiting, rather impatiently, said Mike Murphy, a spokesman for the Tukwila Police Department. Some, he said, were smoking marijuana and drinking.

“It was not a nice, orderly group of shoppers,” he said.

The city of 19,000 had only nine other officers available, Mr. Murphy said. All were called to the mall.

“Clearly that wasn’t enough to control the crowds,” Mr. Murphy said. “Fights started breaking out, so some pepper spray was used to disrupt the fighting. That stopped the fighting, but of course it agitated the crowd.”

Twenty-five extra officers from around the area were brought in, and before long things quieted down without serious injury, Mr. Murphy said.

The police said people had broken two doors to get inside the mall and that an 18-year-old was arrested for punching a police officer. Another man was told to leave after he displayed what the authorities said were gang signs.

Mr. Murphy said that by 6 a.m., the four stores in the mall that had the shoes were sold out — a total of about 1,500 pairs.

The Year in Pictures-Part One

Check out the captions for these great photos and many more here

HAVE YOU SEEN IT YET? Go See Diego Rivera: Murals for The Museum of Modern Art

Dog Star is a huge fan of Rivera - we especially like his wife Frida Kahlo - and this "return" of an old MoMA (more here) exhibition will bring new audiences to the museum who will see that it's not just all dead white men on the museum's walls.  Diego Rivera was the subject of MoMA’s second monographic exhibition (the first was Henri Matisse), which set new attendance records in its five-week run from December 22, 1931, to January 27, 1932. MoMA brought Rivera to New York six weeks before the exhibition’s opening and gave him studio space within the museum, a strategy intended to solve the problem of how to present the work of this famous muralist when murals were by definition made and fixed on site. Working around the clock with two assistants, Rivera produced five “portable murals”—large blocks of frescoed plaster, slaked lime and wood that feature bold images drawn from Mexican subject matter and address themes of revolution and class inequity. After the opening, to great publicity, Rivera added three more murals, now taking on New York subjects through monumental images of the urban working class and the social stratification of the city during the Great Depression. All eight were on display for the rest of the show’s run. The first of these panels, Agrarian Leader Zapata, is an icon in the museum’s collection (shown above in this post).  This exhibition brings together key works made for Rivera’s 1931 exhibition, presenting them at MoMA for the first time in nearly 80 years. Along with mural panels, the show includes full-scale drawings, smaller working drawings, archival materials related to the commission and production of these works, and designs for Rivera’s famous Rockefeller Center mural, which he also produced while he was working at the museum. Focused specifically on works created during the artist’s stay in New York, this exhibition draws a succinct portrait of Rivera as a highly cosmopolitan figure who moved between Russia, Mexico and the United States, and offers a fresh look at the intersection of art making and radical politics in the 1930s. MoMA is the exhibition’s sole venue.  On view until May 14, 2012.  MoMA IS EASY TO REACH AND ALWAYS FREE FOR H.S. STUDENTS - OPEN UNTIL 8PM ON FRIDAY NIGHTS!
Subway: E, M to Fifth Avenue - 53rd Street; B, D, F 47th-50th Streets - Rockefeller Center

Friday, December 23, 2011

Go See the "Radical Camera" @ The Jewish Museum - Bring your friends!

Dog Star knows there is so much to learn about the history of photography in New York City.  Happily for devoted teen readers and others, many photography shows this season help us discover more of the story and how NYC artists made art out of their urban experience.  One of these shows is called The Radical Camera: New York's Photo League, 1936-1951 at The Jewish Museum (more here) on view from November 04, 2011 - March 25, 2012.  We look forward to seeing this show because it will provide images of "old New York" - the way it used to be before the world changed so much.  We especially like this image (shown at the right in this post) called "Butterfly Boy," taken by
Jerome Liebling in 1949 on the streets of Harlem.  The boy looks nervous and confident at the same time and has assumed a kind of superhero pose for the photographer with his caped jacket.  Here's what the museum says about the show:  In 1936 a group of young, idealistic photographers, most of them Jewish, first-generation Americans, formed an organization in Manhattan called the Photo League. Their solidarity centered on a belief in the expressive power of the documentary photograph and on a progressive alliance in the 1930s of socialist ideas and art. The Radical Camera presents the contested path of the documentary photograph during a tumultuous period that spanned the New Deal reforms of the Depression, World War II, and the Cold War.  The Jewish Museum is EASY TO REACH - you don't have to be Jewish to go there! - at 5th Avenue & 92nd Street.  Go on Saturdays @ 11am when it's FREE for everybody!


How quick come the reasons for approving what we like! - Jane Austen (1775-1817)

Imaginary Dog Star Soundtrack: Rock classic Landslide by Stevie Nicks (Can I handle the seasons of my life?)

Thursday, December 22, 2011

FREE! Go see these great art shows at the Met Museum - Bring your friends!

Dog Star says: Go to the Met Museum (more here) to see these great exhibitions - always free for high school students.  From top: New galleries of Islamic art (incredible!), Stieglitz show - he was an influential art gallery owner and photographer and this exhibition shows off his collection (eye opening and a mini-art education), third pic is Romare Bearden collages called "The Block" - an influential African- American artist from North Carolina who lived and worked in Harlem and bottom pic is "Heroic Africans" - one of the most exciting exhibitions at the Met right now.  This show highlights the ancestors whose images were the basis for ancient and recent images in African art.

Discover Modern French Painting (Henri Rousseau)

At right:  Henri Rousseau. (French, 1844-1910). The Sleeping Gypsy. 1897. Oil on canvas.
Dog Star makes a point of stopping by the 4th floor each time we're at MoMA (more here) to see this Rousseau picture (pronounced roo-sew) - one of our favorites in their permanent collection.  here's what their guide book says about the picture:  As a musician, the gypsy in this painting is an artist; as a traveler, she has no clear social place. Lost in the self-absorption that is deep, dreaming sleep, she is dangerously vulnerable—yet the lion is calmed and entranced.  The Sleeping Gypsy is formally exacting—its contours precise, its color crystalline, its lines, surfaces, and accents carefully rhymed. Rousseau plays delicately with light on the lion’s body. A letter of his describes the painting’s subject: “A wandering Negress, a mandolin player, lies with her jar beside her (a vase with drinking water), overcome by fatigue in a deep sleep. A lion chances to pass by, picks up her scent yet does not devour her. There is a moonlight effect, very poetic. The scene is set in a completely arid desert. The gypsy is dressed in oriental costume.”  A sometime douanier (toll collector) for the city of Paris, Rousseau was a self-taught painter, whose work seemed entirely unsophisticated to most of its early viewers. Much in his art, however, found modernist echoes: the flattened shapes and perspectives, the freedom of color and style, the subordination of realistic description to imagination and invention. As a consequence, critics and artists appreciated Rousseau long before the general public did.  MoMA IS ALWASY FREE FOR HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS AND OPEN UNTIL 10pm ON FRIDAY NIGHTS!

Go See Carsten Höller: Experience @ New Museum on the Bowery - Bring your friends for lots of things to do!

Dog Star knows many devoted readers will really enjoy this exhibition at the New Museum (more here).  This Swedish artist Carsten Höller creates "museum environments" as a Conceptual artist.  What this means is he tries to find ways to alter the typical museum experience of "visiting and looking at art on the walls."  He is a former scientist who left his career in the lab in 1993 to be a full-time artist who explores interactivity, environments and participatory installations.  One of the things he will create at the New Museum is a giant slide like the one he did at the Tate in london (see videos below).  Here is how it is described on the museum's website:  "Functioning as an alternative transportation system within the Museum, one of Höller’s signature slide installations will run from the fourth floor to the second, perforating ceilings and floors, to shuttle viewers through the exhibition as a giant 102-foot-long pneumatic mailing system."  Basically he is going to build a giant slide - can't they just say that!  We have heard it will be a much safer experience than at the Tate and include helmets and other safety gear.  Be sure to go for the bruises.  As you can see in the videos the Tate is a giant space because it is a former power station.  Unfortunately, the New Museum is much smaller and will not be as open as the Tate space.  It will still be worthwhile and IT IS ALWAYS FREE FOR HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS and EASY TO REACH ON THE BOWERY JUST TWO BLOCKS SOUTH OF HOUSTON STREET.  Museum si on the corner of Bowery & Prince Street.  Opens October 26 until January 15, 2012.

AT&T Ads "Predict" the Future in 1993...And we're living it!

Dog Star knows many of the products and services in this ad have become real so what's next?  This montage of AT&T ads came from a 1993 Newsweek CD-ROM, when Newsweek thought that one day, magazines would be sent to you in CD-ROM form, sponsored with ads. It's an interesting view of the future.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The Private Collection of Robert Rauschenberg at Gagosian Gallery (Free and on view until this Friday, Dec. 23)

Christmas Joke

On one of the last school days before Christmas, the children brought gifts for their teacher. The supermarket manager's daughter brought the teacher a basket of assorted fruit.
The florist's son brought the teacher a bouquet of flowers.
The candy-store owner's daughter gave the teacher a pretty box of candy.
Then the liquor-store owner's son brought up a big, heavy box. The teacher lifted it up and noticed that it was leaking a little bit...
She touched a drop of the liquid with her finger and tasted it.
"Is it wine?" she guessed.
"No," the boy replied.
She tasted another drop and asked, "Champagne?"
"No," said the little boy. "It's a puppy!"

Movie Trailer for THE HOBBIT (Coming in December 2012 - Really? We need a trailer now? Looks cool, though!)

Discover Jimmy Scott

More on Jimmy Scott here.


Every man desires to live long, but no man would be old.
Jonathan Swift (1667-1745)

Dog Star Selects Jasper Johns "Flag"

Artist Jasper Johns painted at least 20 versions of his "Flag" series in the 1950s. The one above was purchased directly from Johns by writer Michael Crichton in 1973 (for next to nothing, I'm sure) - and sold at auction for $28.6 million in 2010 after Crichton's death.  NYC's Museum of Modern Art owns one of the "Flag" paintings and the "White Flag" (below) is in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.