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Out of the refuse of modern life—torn scraps of outdated magazines, destined for obscurity—Muniz has assembled an ode to one of the first paintings of modern life.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

Tuesday, January 31, 2012


High 5 Offers FREE After-School Programs in the Arts - Bring your friends and join!

Teen Reviewers and Critics INFORMATIONAL OPEN HOUSE
Still undecided about applying? 
Concerned you don't have the time for TRaC?
Wondering what being in TRaC is really like?  Come to High 5 and Get Some Answers!  Join us for the Spring Teen Reviewers and Critics (TRaC) Informational Open House and we'll answer all your questions. You'll meet former TRaC participants and instructors, hear about their experiences in TRaC, get a preview of the Spring TRaC programs and learn how to apply. Interested students, parents, teachers and TRaC alumni - all are welcome. Of course, light refreshments will be served.

To learn more about TRaC before the Open House, CLICK HERE!
You can also download an a SPRING TRaC FLYER (to print and distribute to friends and teachers) and a TRaC APPLICATION FORM, which must be dropped off or postmarked by Thursday, February 9. Remember, TRaC is first come, first served!

Dog Star strongly urges you to print out and complete the application and bring it with you to the Open House!  We know Daniel, Hector, Misael, Yarissa and other students in our class will like this great opportunity!

Wednesday, February 8, 4:45 - 5:45 p.m.
at ArtsConnection/High 5 Headquarters
520 Eighth Ave at 36th Street, 3rd Floor
RSVP to Eric Ost at 212-453-9485 or

Look what's on at the Met Museum!

Go here for more info on the Met - always free for high school students!

Imaginary Dog Star Landscapes

Life Imitates Art (Biggie & Hitchcock)

Dog Star knows many Biggie fans worship this hip hop icon who died too young - murdered at the hands of callous thugs.  In the photo below Biggie definitely looks like "The Boss" but it has an unlikely inspiration.  Some fans may not know that the source for this Biggie image is a movie studio photo of British-born director Alfred Hitchcock (more here), who posed for the photo to promote his 1963 film THE BIRDS (more here).

Monday, January 30, 2012

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.

Clever Small Home Architecture Derived From Site Restrictions in Tokyo

Dog Star really likes this house!  It makes the American love affair with McMansions look awfully silly. Couldn't we all learn to live with much less?  The River Side House is an impressive project designed by Mizuishi Architect Atelier and located in Tokyo, Japan. The small home was constructed on a triangle site and occupies a building area of 29.07 square meters. According to the architects, the structure of the residence includes functionally separate areas, as follows. The first is the dining and kitchen area, situated up the stairs and having high ceilings with a feeling of rise towards the roof top. The living space is low ceilinged and has full-opening windows on both sides of the bay, ensuring a feeling of floating. There is also a generous spare room to the east, for having guests over. The interior arrangements of this residence are minimalist and tasteful. The walls are painted entirely in white, inspiring openness and tidiness. Wooden accents and splashes of color here and there add a happy tone to the design.

Dog Star Selects "Star" Short Film by Guy Ritchie with Surprise Cameo

Sunday, January 29, 2012

FREE! THIS SATURDAY! Winter Jam in Pospect Park - Bring your friends!

Dog Star says bring your friends to Prospect Park for Winter Jam 2012!  Snowboarding, snow tubing and other winter sports - they will make snow if they need it! Go here for more information.
Saturday, February 4, 2012 - 11:00 am to 4:00 pm
Prospect Park, Brooklyn
Long Meadow by the Picnic House
Enter at 3rd St. & Prospect Park West


Life is a luminous halo, a semi-transparent envelope surrounding us from the beginning of consciousness to the end.
Virginia Woolf (1882-1941)

Discover IKEA HACKERS for great ideas on how to modify IKEA Products (Great for D.I.Y.ers!)

DOG STAR likes the idea of a website that promotes the do-it-yourself activities like IKEA Hacker.  People share how they have transformed bland IKEA furniture and home decor products into, sometimes, extraordinary pieces.  While a lot of the projects involve actually re-building furniture from IKEA products, others are smaller ones any teen can do.  As you know, of course, we have an IKEA right in Brooklyn (here) or go to the one in Elizabeth, NJ.  Here for IKEA Hacker

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Discover Frank Oscar Larson @ Queens Museum of Art

Dog Star says here's a great opportunity to see New York City "back in the day."  Starting February 5th and running through May 20th, the Queens Museum of Art (more here) will be showing off the work of photographer Frank Oscar Larson, who documented the streets of New York in the 1950s. They're in possession of "several thousand historic negatives hidden from sight for 55 years," and will bring 65 of them in print form to their "1950s New York Street Stories" installation. Larson was a Queens banker who had a "lifelong passion for photography" and yielded a tremendous images of everyday life in 1950s New York. The negatives had been stored in more than 100 envelopes meticulously notated with location and date info in Larson’s own hand. Since their discovery, Larson’s grandson Soren has been overseeing the scanning and printing of the 55 year old images. According to Soren Larson, “Photographs dating back to the 1920s attest to the fact that he was always the family shutterbug. But it wasn’t until the early 1950s that Frank’s passion for photography blossomed. Throughout the 1950s and early 1960s, Larson made weekend expeditions around New York with his Rolleiflex Automat Model 4 camera around his neck, producing thousands of images which he developed in a basement darkroom.

What's Wrong With the Teenage Mind?

Dog Star re-posts this from the Wall Street Journal (here):  Children today reach puberty earlier and adulthood later. The result: A lot of teenage weirdness. Alison Gopnik on how we might readjust adolescence.
"What was he thinking?" It's the familiar cry of bewildered parents trying to understand why their teenagers act the way they do.  How does the boy who can thoughtfully explain the reasons never to drink and drive end up in a drunken crash? Why does the girl who knows all about birth control find herself pregnant by a boy she doesn't even like? What happened to the gifted, imaginative child who excelled through high school but then dropped out of college, drifted from job to job and now lives in his parents' basement?  If you think of the teenage brain as a car, today's adolescents acquire an accelerator a long time before they can steer and brake.  Adolescence has always been troubled, but for reasons that are somewhat mysterious, puberty is now kicking in at an earlier and earlier age. A leading theory points to changes in energy balance as children eat more and move less.  At the same time, first with the industrial revolution and then even more dramatically with the information revolution, children have come to take on adult roles later and later. Five hundred years ago, Shakespeare knew that the emotionally intense combination of teenage sexuality and peer-induced risk could be tragic—witness "Romeo and Juliet." But, on the other hand, if not for fate, 13-year-old Juliet would have become a wife and mother within a year or two.  Our Juliets (as parents longing for grandchildren will recognize with a sigh) may experience the tumult of love for 20 years before they settle down into motherhood. And our Romeos may be poetic lunatics under the influence of Queen Mab until they are well into graduate school.  What happens when children reach puberty earlier and adulthood later? The answer is: a good deal of teenage weirdness. Fortunately, developmental psychologists and neuroscientists are starting to explain the foundations of that weirdness.  The crucial new idea is that there are two different neural and psychological systems that interact to turn children into adults. Over the past two centuries, and even more over the past generation, the developmental timing of these two systems has changed. That, in turn, has profoundly changed adolescence and produced new kinds of adolescent woe. The big question for anyone who deals with young people today is how we can go about bringing these cogs of the teenage mind into sync once again.  The first of these systems has to do with emotion and motivation. It is very closely linked to the biological and chemical changes of puberty and involves the areas of the brain that respond to rewards. This is the system that turns placid 10-year-olds into restless, exuberant, emotionally intense teenagers, desperate to attain every goal, fulfill every desire and experience every sensation. Later, it turns them back into relatively placid adults.  Recent studies in the neuroscientist B.J. Casey's lab at Cornell University suggest that adolescents aren't reckless because they underestimate risks, but because they overestimate rewards—or, rather, find rewards more rewarding than adults do. The reward centers of the adolescent brain are much more active than those of either children or adults. Think about the incomparable intensity of first love, the never-to-be-recaptured glory of the high-school basketball championship.   What teenagers want most of all are social rewards, especially the respect of their peers. In a recent study by the developmental psychologist Laurence Steinberg at Temple University, teenagers did a simulated high-risk driving task while they were lying in an fMRI brain-imaging machine. The reward system of their brains lighted up much more when they thought another teenager was watching what they did—and they took more risks.  From an evolutionary point of view, this all makes perfect sense. One of the most distinctive evolutionary features of human beings is our unusually long, protected childhood. Human children depend on adults for much longer than those of any other primate. That long protected period also allows us to learn much more than any other animal. But eventually, we have to leave the safe bubble of family life, take what we learned as children and apply it to the real adult world.  Becoming an adult means leaving the world of your parents and starting to make your way toward the future that you will share with your peers. Puberty not only turns on the motivational and emotional system with new force, it also turns it away from the family and toward the world of equals.  The second crucial system in our brains has to do with control; it channels and harnesses all that seething energy. In particular, the prefrontal cortex reaches out to guide other parts of the brain, including the parts that govern motivation and emotion. This is the system that inhibits impulses and guides decision-making, that encourages long-term planning and delays gratification.  This control system depends much more on learning. It becomes increasingly effective throughout childhood and continues to develop during adolescence and adulthood, as we gain more experience. You come to make better decisions by making not-so-good decisions and then correcting them. You get to be a good planner by making plans, implementing them and seeing the results again and again. Expertise comes with experience. As the old joke has it, the answer to the tourist's question "How do you get to Carnegie Hall?" is "Practice, practice, practice."  In the distant (and even the not-so-distant) historical past, these systems of motivation and control were largely in sync. In gatherer-hunter and farming societies, childhood education involves formal and informal apprenticeship. Children have lots of chances to practice the skills that they need to accomplish their goals as adults, and so to become expert planners and actors. The cultural psychologist Barbara Rogoff studied this kind of informal education in a Guatemalan Indian society, where she found that apprenticeship allowed even young children to become adept at difficult and dangerous tasks like using a machete.  In the past, to become a good gatherer or hunter, cook or caregiver, you would actually practice gathering, hunting, cooking and taking care of children all through middle childhood and early adolescence—tuning up just the prefrontal wiring you'd need as an adult. But you'd do all that under expert adult supervision and in the protected world of childhood, where the impact of your inevitable failures would be blunted. When the motivational juice of puberty arrived, you'd be ready to go after the real rewards, in the world outside, with new intensity and exuberance, but you'd also have the skill and control to do it effectively and reasonably safely.  In contemporary life, the relationship between these two systems has changed dramatically. Puberty arrives earlier, and the motivational system kicks in earlier too.  At the same time, contemporary children have very little experience with the kinds of tasks that they'll have to perform as grown-ups. Children have increasingly little chance to practice even basic skills like cooking and caregiving. Contemporary adolescents and pre-adolescents often don't do much of anything except go to school. Even the paper route and the baby-sitting job have largely disappeared.  The experience of trying to achieve a real goal in real time in the real world is increasingly delayed, and the growth of the control system depends on just those experiences. The pediatrician and developmental psychologist Ronald Dahl at the University of California, Berkeley, has a good metaphor for the result: Today's adolescents develop an accelerator a long time before they can steer and brake.  This doesn't mean that adolescents are stupider than they used to be. In many ways, they are much smarter. An ever longer protected period of immaturity and dependence—a childhood that extends through college—means that young humans can learn more than ever before. There is strong evidence that IQ has increased dramatically as more children spend more time in school, and there is even some evidence that higher IQ is correlated with delayed frontal lobe development.  All that school means that children know more about more different subjects than they ever did in the days of apprenticeships. Becoming a really expert cook doesn't tell you about the nature of heat or the chemical composition of salt—the sorts of things you learn in school.  But there are different ways of being smart. Knowing physics and chemistry is no help with a soufflé. Wide-ranging, flexible and broad learning, the kind we encourage in high-school and college, may actually be in tension with the ability to develop finely-honed, controlled, focused expertise in a particular skill, the kind of learning that once routinely took place in human societies. For most of our history, children have started their internships when they were seven, not 27.  The old have always complained about the young, of course. But this new explanation based on developmental timing elegantly accounts for the paradoxes of our particular crop of adolescents.  There do seem to be many young adults who are enormously smart and knowledgeable but directionless, who are enthusiastic and exuberant but unable to commit to a particular kind of work or a particular love until well into their 20s or 30s. And there is the graver case of children who are faced with the uncompromising reality of the drive for sex, power and respect, without the expertise and impulse control it takes to ward off unwanted pregnancy or violence.  This new explanation also illustrates two really important and often overlooked facts about the mind and brain. First, experience shapes the brain. People often think that if some ability is located in a particular part of the brain, that must mean that it's "hard-wired" and inflexible. But, in fact, the brain is so powerful precisely because it is so sensitive to experience. It's as true to say that our experience of controlling our impulses make the prefrontal cortex develop as it is to say that prefrontal development makes us better at controlling our impulses. Our social and cultural life shapes our biology.  Second, development plays a crucial role in explaining human nature. The old "evolutionary psychology" picture was that genes were directly responsible for some particular pattern of adult behavior—a "module." In fact, there is more and more evidence that genes are just the first step in complex developmental sequences, cascades of interactions between organism and environment, and that those developmental processes shape the adult brain. Even small changes in developmental timing can lead to big changes in who we become.  Fortunately, these characteristics of the brain mean that dealing with modern adolescence is not as hopeless as it might sound. Though we aren't likely to return to an agricultural life or to stop feeding our children well and sending them to school, the very flexibility of the developing brain points to solutions.  Brain research is often taken to mean that adolescents are really just defective adults—grown-ups with a missing part. Public policy debates about teenagers thus often turn on the question of when, exactly, certain areas of the brain develop, and so at what age children should be allowed to drive or marry or vote—or be held fully responsible for crimes. But the new view of the adolescent brain isn't that the prefrontal lobes just fail to show up; it's that they aren't properly instructed and exercised.  Simply increasing the driving age by a year or two doesn't have much influence on the accident rate, for example. What does make a difference is having a graduated system in which teenagers slowly acquire both more skill and more freedom—a driving apprenticeship.  Instead of simply giving adolescents more and more school experiences—those extra hours of after-school classes and homework—we could try to arrange more opportunities for apprenticeship. AmeriCorps, the federal community-service program for youth, is an excellent example, since it provides both challenging real-life experiences and a degree of protection and supervision.  "Take your child to work" could become a routine practice rather than a single-day annual event, and college students could spend more time watching and helping scientists and scholars at work rather than just listening to their lectures. Summer enrichment activities like camp and travel, now so common for children whose parents have means, might be usefully alternated with summer jobs, with real responsibilities.  The good news, in short, is that we don't have to just accept the developmental patterns of adolescent brains. We can actually shape and change them.

Dog Star Selects Alex Andrews Snowboarding


Love means to love that which is unlovable; or it is no virtue at all.
Gilbert Chesterton (1874-1936)

Chicken Poodle, Camel Poodle & Bison Poodle. Poor dogs.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Got Summer Plans, Yet? College-Bound Teens Know that A Summer Program is a MUST! (Young Writers Institute)

Dog Star encourages juniors in our classes to go to free art classes, activities and other cultural events to build up the extra-curriculars on their resume for college applications.  We think Hector and Misael went to the Met today (Jan. 27) for a free art class.  It's not too early to think about a "bridge program" between junior and senior year.  This one is for ANY high school student who is serious about creative writing.  While the cost is $795, some teens may qualify for financial aid.  Ask your teachers for help to complete the application! 
The New York State Writers Institute in conjunction with the Office of the Dean of Special Programs at Skidmore College is pleased to announce the 14th annual creative writing workshop for high school students. The New York State Summer Young Writers Institute (SYWI) will be held at Skidmore College, Saratoga Springs, New York from July 1 - July 7, 2012.  Participants in the Summer Young Writers Institute will receive instruction in poetry, prose, and imaginative nonfiction, and engage in the critical evaluation of each other’s work. There will be three workshops per day: two sessions in the morning, and one in the afternoon. In addition, the young writers will have the opportunity to interact with some of the most well-regarded authors in the country.  By bringing top high school student writers together to work extensively with professional writers, the SYWI provides young artists with recognition, respect, opportunities for artistic development, and peer support. Participants are expected to write extensively and complete pieces of work in three genres. Computers will be available for writing and revision. Students will present readings of their work at the end of the week, and their poems, essays, and stories will be published in an anthology.  The SYWI is open to any high school student entering the 10th, 11th, or 12th grade in the fall of 2012. Approximately 36 students will be chosen, based on the submission of creative writing samples (see application here for details). Full and partial scholarships are available to participants based on need.

Shit Drake Says

Go See "Question Bridge: Black Males" Smash Stereotypes @ Brooklyn Museum - Bring your friends! Tell your teachers!

Dog Star thinks this innovative video project will smash stereotypes about black males!  The video below is just a very tiny excerpt from the project.  There is much, much more to the project on view at the museum!  Question Bridge: Black Males (project website here), a video installation created by artists Hank Willis Thomas and Chris Johnson in collaboration with Bayeté Ross Smith and Kamal Sinclair, features dialogue among 150 Black men recruited from eleven American cities and towns. The exhibition at the Brooklyn Museum (more here) includes five video screens, placed in an arc, playing videos of the men responding to questions. The videos were edited so that it appears as if the men are having a conversation. For the past four years the four collaborators have traveled throughout the United States to locations including New York, Chicago, Oakland, San Francisco, Birmingham, Atlanta, New Orleans, and Philadelphia, creating 1,500 video exchanges in which the subjects serve as both interviewers and interviewees, posing and answering one another’s questions. Their words are woven together to simulate a stream-of-consciousness dialogue, through which important themes and issues emerge. The subjects addressed include family, love, interracial relationships, community, education, violence, and the past, present, and future of Black men in American society. The men represent a range of American geographic, economic, generational, educational, and social strata. The artists hope that the Question Bridge project will be a catalyst for constructive dialogue among Black men and others in the nation that will help deconstruct stereotypes about Black male identity in our collective consciousness. “In the end, the objective is to create something that resonates as essentially genuine to viewer and subjects, and provides audiences with an intimate window into the complex and often unspoken dialogue between African American men,” they note in their Artists’ Statement. “In this light, ‘Blackness’ ceases to be a simple, monochromatic concept. A major ambition is to transform our audiences’ appreciation of any demographic and provide new opportunities for healing and understanding. The Question Bridge videos are a part of a larger project that also includes a user-generated website and a curriculum currently being offered to high schools and universities throughout the United States. The Brooklyn Museum will present a wide range of public programs in conjunction with the project. Question Bridge will be the theme of the February edition of Target First Saturdays, the Brooklyn Museum’s monthly free evening of art and entertainment. There will also be a roundtable discussion with invited community leaders and youth inspired by a moment in the video when a young Black man asks members of the civil rights generation, “Why didn’t you leave us the blueprint?” On view at the Brooklyn Museum until June 3, 2012.  EASY TO REACH - Take the 2/3 train to Eastern Parkway and the museum is right upstairs from the subway station.  Hand the cashier just $1 at the admissions desk with the words, "One please."

Question Bridge: Black Males - Project Trailer from Question Bridge on Vimeo.

Words to Live By

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

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Have you been to the Brooklyn Museum lately?

A$AP Rocky + The A$AP Mob: Harlem State of Mind (Rocky calls himself a "god"!)

Sports Fans Have Blogs, Too!

Dog Star knows that there are blogs for all kinds of things and all kinds of interests.  Sports blogs are enormously popular because they provide a platform - like any blog - for expressing a unique perspective or way of seeing the sports universe.  While Dog Star has nothing to do with The Sports Corner, we always encourage young adults to make blogs.  Choose the one thing (not XXX) that you're most passionate about and get started.  You never know where it will take you and your web presence can serve as the springboard for future opportunities.  On The Sports Corner blog is a new post on the American League off-season and how each team fares as a contender.  It's written by a former student - Marvin - who displays a talent for clear, cogent and crisp writing!  Perhaps his next job will be as a sports writer!  Check it out here!

Dog Star Selects Jerry Saltz's Top Ten 2011 (The Year in Art)

Dog Star re-posts this from artnews (more here):

1. The Clock, Christian Marclay
Imagine Darren Aronofsky onstage at the Academy Awards next February, announcing, “And the winner for Best Picture is . . . Christian Marclay’s The Clock.” Movie stars would be dumbstruck; the art world would cheer. Marclay’s film, painstakingly assembled out of time-specific clips from classic movies, was a 24-hour odyssey of chronology.

2. The Chauvet Cave Paintings, in 3-D
Speaking of movie theaters, I yelped when I saw the panoramic shots in Werner Herzog’s astounding Cave of Forgotten Dreams and gleaned that 30,000 years ago, painters in southern France could draw with atmospheric and linear perspective. Mammals have never been rendered better.

3. “De Kooning: a ­Retrospective” ­­
The transcendently sensuous show of almost 200 works by the Dutch-American master Willem de Kooning teemed with visual wisdom, annulling the many ridiculous critical complaints that this cloudburst of artistic genius was too big or passé. A painting supernova.

4. “Alexander ­McQueen: Savage Beauty”
Art made me gay! I was shaken to my hetero core by the unbridled originality, brazenness, and riveting vision on display in the Met’s Alexander McQueen show of clothes that became sculpture that turned into art. Dismissing this as “only a fashion show” is like saying Mozart only wrote songs.

5. Bliss, Ragnar Kjartansson
This twelve-hour performance with ten Icelandic opera singers, all repeatedly performing the divine ­final aria of The Marriage of Figaro, created a replicating masterpiece of love, redemption, and Icelandic insanity.

6. “Dana Schutz: If the Face Had Wheels”
Given the continued imbalance in the system, for a woman to paint at all is still a political act; for her to do so in a vaguely gestural figurative style is almost insurrectionary. The show, at the Neuberger Museum of Art in Purchase, N.Y., proves that like all outstanding artists, Dana Schutz probably has an extra wrinkle in her frontal lobe.

7. The Women of “Performa 11”
Though wildly uneven, ­Performa once again generated triumphs, including Frances Stark’s sex life of chat rooms; Maria Petschnig’s naked strangers on a stairway; Iona Rozeal Brown’s hip-hop Kabuki ­Aesop’s tale; Laurel Nakadate and James Franco’s theater auditions as blood sport; and Liz Magic Laser’s fantastic cracking of the news-cycle codes. All deserve a berth in the upcoming Whitney Biennial.

8. “The Social ­Failure,” at Maccarone
Curator Bjarne Melgaard created the best installation in last summer’s Venice Biennale, Beyond Death: ­Viral Discontents and Contemporary Notions About AIDS, and followed it with this wildly untamed exhibition and journey into pleasure, pain, abjection, and what one visitor called “the failures of heterosexuality.”

9. “Ostalgia,” at the New Museum
This building wide show of art from the former Soviet bloc, ­Ostalgia, indicated that curator Massimiliano Gioni is now master of his own form of large-scale exhibition as narrative, time machine, pleasurable pedagogy, historical potboiler come to life, and insight.

10. Lisa Yuskavage at David Zwirner
Just as I was dismissing Lisa Yuskavage’s new candy-colored paintings of young buxom monstrosities as more of her typical calendar-art sci-fi kitsch, my wife whispered to me, “These are all sacrifices.” Though I’m still not a fan, I suddenly reeled from the sight of a painted knife with blood on it beneath a table with a headless female body on top, all of it standing in for the bodies of women and the body of painting.

Imaginary Dog Star Landscapes

Go to the Strand to Hear Poet Billy Collins-A great way to start the new year!

An Evening of Poetry with Billy Collins, Horoscopes for the Dead
THURSDAY February 2: 7:00PM – 8:00PM
We are pleased to present a special event featuring one of the most widely read poets of our time, Billy Collins—author, most recently, of the book Horoscopes for the Dead, a smart, lyrical, funny and touching collection from America’s most popular poet.  Billy Collins’ poetry collections include, Questions About Angels, The Art of Drowning, Picnic, Lightning, Taking Off Emily Dickinson’s Clothes, Sailing Alone Around the Room: New & Selected Poems, Nine Horses, and The Trouble With Poetry and Other Poems. He is editor of two anthologies of contemporary poetry: Poetry 180: A Turning Back to Poetry and 180 More: Extraordinary Poems for Every Day. Among his honors are fellowships from the New York Foundation for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Guggenheim Foundation. In October 2004, Collins was selected as the inaugural recipient of the Poetry Foundation’s Mark Twain Award for humor in poetry. Collins has been a writer-in-residence at Sarah Lawrence College and served as a Literary Lion of the New York Public Library. He is a Distinguished Professor of English at Lehman College, City University of New York, where he has taught for the past 30 years. In June 2001, Billy Collins was appointed United States Poet Laureate (2001-2003). In January 2004, he was named New York State Poet Laureate 2004-06.  Buy Horoscopes for the Dead or a $10 Strand gift card in order to attend this event. Both options admit one person. The event will be located in the Strand's 3rd floor Rare Book Room at our store at 828 Broadway at 12th Street.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Know My City: Discover great subway art (Roy Lichtenstein’s Times Square Mural)

This is an occasional post on Dog Star featuring major works of art in the NYC subway system.
Re-posted from the New York Observer (here):  Any self-respecting art lover in New York is sure to visit the Met, but may overlook the M.T.A. “There are many people throughout the world who would be amazed; curators who take the subway are blown away,” said Sandra Bloodworth, who has directed the Metropolitan Transit Authority’s Arts for Transit program since 1996, adding murals and mosaics by Museum of Modern Art stalwarts like Roy Lichtenstein, Elizabeth Murray and Sol LeWitt to subterranean walls. “You can see all of this work [by artists] in these museums-on the way to those museums.”  Since the Arts for Transit program began 25 years ago, it has installed more than 200 permanent pieces of artwork in subway stations all over the city (A complete guide is available here). Beyond the works by famous names, they include murals by public-school children and works by emerging artists who later became better known. Where does the money come from? In 1982, New York passed the “Percent for Art” law which requires that 1 percent of the budget for eligible city-funded construction projects be spent on artwork for city facilities.  The art is carefully selected to match the station. Ms. Bloodworth said, “It’s about what will resonate with the riders.” So here’s a look at some of what’s available for the cost of a MetroCard. 
Roy Lichtenstein’s Times Square Mural
Times Square Station: 1, 2, 3, N, Q, R, 7 and S trains
Perhaps the most famous piece of art in the M.T.A. system is Roy Lichtenstein’s Times Square Mural, created in 1994. This 53-foot-long panel, in Lichtenstein’s iconic comic-book-print style, was one of the artist’s last works. The mural shows the progression of transit, representing both the past (an arch like the kind used in the construction of the original 19th-century subway system) and the future (an ultramodern rocket-ship train). Lichtenstein was commissioned for the piece, but chose to give it as a gift to the city he was born in.  Go here for more information.

Graffiti on a Wall in Brooklyn