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Out of the refuse of modern life—torn scraps of outdated magazines, destined for obscurity—Muniz has assembled an ode to one of the first paintings of modern life.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

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Meek Mill “Dreams & Nightmares” Documentary

OPEN NOW! Go See Mickalene Thomas: Origin of the Universe @ Brooklyn Museum (Bring your friends!)

Dog Star is telling everybody to go see Mickalene Thomas: Origin of the Universe at the Brooklyn Museum.  Few artists hit you with a glammed-up multicolored retinal blast as shocking and smart as Thomas’s. Her massive landscapes and portraits embellished with rhinestones, enamel, and paint exude sheer aesthetic gall and visual intelligence. As part of her exhibition, Thomas will be debuting her very first documentary, Happy Birthday to a Beautiful Woman—a celebration of the artist’s muse and mother, Sandra Bush, who has often figured in Thomas’s photos and paintings.  We like that teh exhibition includes small collage work, giant 12 foot canvases and small room installations in her signature 1970s-inspired colors and decor.

Mickalene is a Brooklyn-based artist who glorifies the African American female form and she shows off the form, beauty and elegance by referencing classic paintings and Blaxploitation films.

Mickalene Thomas: Origin of the Universe at the Brooklyn Museum is EASY TO REACH by taking the 2/3 train to Eastern Parkway/Brooklyn Museum
Hours Wednesday: 11 a.m.–6 p.m. Thursday: 11 a.m.–10 p.m. Friday–Sunday: 11 a.m.–6 p.m. Pay just $1 (suggested contribution.  OPEN LATE ON THURSDAY NIGHTS until 10pm!

Thomas shot the assertively posed Qusuquzah against a wood-paneled wall in what is probably a corner of her studio. Wearing a blue hat and red dress, Qusuquzah also appears in several other portraits included in the exhibition. In painted portraits, Thomas transforms her photographic source through the addition of rhinestones, the subtle alteration of facial expression, and the contrasts between matte and enamel surfaces.

FREE! New City Park Honors F.D.R. & His Famous Speech "Four Freedoms"

Dog Star admires F.D.R. and knows he is an important man during the Great Depression and at the start of World War II.  He is also the former governor of New York State.  His family's estate north of New York City - Hyde Park - is open to the public and a great way to spend a Summer or Autumn Saturday with your family.  Of course, F.D.R.'s wife - Eleanor Roosevelt - is also an important figure and she had a huge role in drafting the Universal Human Rights delivered at the United Nations.

It's been 40 years since New York has been planning a memorial park for 32nd President Franklin D. Roosevelt on the east end of Roosevelt island. Originally designed by Louis Kahn in 1974, New York's almost bankrupt economy put the project on hold until the release of the documentary "My Architect" when enough support was fostered to fund the completion of the project carried out by local firm Mitchell Giurgola Architects.  

The triangular site of the 'FDR Four Freedoms Park' funnels visitors along a white granite plinth lined in linden trees to an open-air courtyard, at the entrance to which is thick block with a 28-inch bronze bust of FDR's head, sculpted by Jo Davidson, facing the united nations headquarters only 300 meters away. On the backside, the four freedoms speech is engraved as a symbol of the president's legacy to the building blocks of contemporary democratic principles. The project is planned to expand in the future, transforming a 19th-century small pox hospital to an auxiliary visitor center. The park is now open to the public.

Read more about F.D.R. here.

Go here for directions to the Four Freedoms Park!

The Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Park is an enduring tribute to the life and work of President Roosevelt. In the late 1960s, during a period of national urban renewal, New York City Mayor John Lindsay proposed to reinvent Roosevelt Island (then called Welfare Island) into a vibrant, residential community. The New York Times championed renaming the island for President Franklin D. Roosevelt and constructing a memorial to him, remarking: "It has long seemed to us that an ideal place for a memorial to FDR would be on Welfare Island, which...could be easily renamed in his honor... It would face the sea he loved, the Atlantic he bridged, the Europe he helped to save, the United Nations he inspired."

FDR's Famous Speech on The Four Freedoms On January 6, 1941 President Franklin D. Roosevelt delivered a speech that shaped this nation, now known as the Four Freedoms speech. He looked forward to a world founded on four human freedoms: freedom of speech and expression, freedom of worship, freedom from want, and freedom from fear.  Today, by building Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Park, we have the opportunity to honor this man and these essential freedoms.

PAY JUST $1 - Go See London & NYC Street Photography @ Museum of the City of New York - Bring your friends!

Dog Star is excited about this new street photography exhibition at the Museum of the City of New York (go here):  London Street Photography, with "City Scenes: Highlights of New York Street Photography" features images by over 70 photographers who have recorded fleeting moments in London, capturing the faces and lives of ordinary people who populate this complicated and ever-changing metropolis. The exhibition, organized by the Museum of London, where it brought in record crowds, features work by such notables as John Thomson, Moholy-Nagy, George Rodger, Bert Hardy, Roger Mayne, and Nick Turpin, as well as by countless anonymous photographers whose contributions have been just as important in recording the city.

Through more than 150 striking images, London Street Photography traces two compelling histories: the development of the practice, aesthetics, and technology of street photography the course of a century and a half, and the simultaneous growth of a modern city. The photographs capture the change from Victorian city of pushcarts to the multicultural city of immigrants in the 21st century; changing modes of transportation from horse and carriage to double-decker buses to stretch limousines; and a kaleidoscope of public places from markets to squares and neighborhoods of every type. The people depicted include the fashionable and the down-and-out, the immigrant and the street urchin, and people of every ethnicity, all linked by the implicitly democratic medium of photography. 

A small companion installation organized by the Museum of the City of New York, City Scenes: Highlights of New York Street Photography, will provide a counterpart illustrating the rich tradition of street photography in New York City. City Scenes showcases 30 key works by New York photographers, including Jacob Riis, Berenice Abbott, Helen Levitt, Robert Frank, William Klein, Nan Goldin, and Joel Meyerowitz. Together, these selections highlight the similarities and differences of subject matter and style by practitioners working simultaneously thousands of miles apart in major western metropolitan cities.

The Museum of the City of New York is pleased to present London Street Photography to coincide with the 2012 London Summer Olympic Games. The exhibition is organized by the Museum of London.

Admission is a suggested donation of $6 for teens but you can pay just $1 and it's fine.  Seriously.  Museum of the City of New York is EASY TO REACH at 103rd Street and Fifth Avenue - take the 6 train to 103rd Street and walk west to Fifth Avenue.  This exhibition is on view through the Fall.  We will re-post several times to remind devoted readers of this worthwhile show.  While you are here consider going one block north to 104th Street and 5th Avenue to El Museo del Barrio for the Carribbean exhibition!  We have also posted a link to the New York Times review of the show here:

Glimpses of Urban Landscapes Past 

In a recent essay the critic A. A. Gill gently dissuaded seekers of an authentic London experience: “You want stiff-lipped men in bowler hats and cheeky cockneys with their thumbs on their waistcoats and fish on their heads. I’m sorry, but they’re not here anymore.”

But these types, and others visitors might want to meet, are very much present and accounted for in “London Street Photography” at the Museum of the City of New York. Arriving from the Museum of London, which presented it in 2010 and owns the more than 150 works on view, the show affords those of us watching the Olympics on TV a glimpse of an older, more eccentric city. It covers the Victorian era to the present, and is particularly rich in images from the mid-20th century: the golden age of street photography in England, as in the United States.

A smaller companion exhibition, “City Scenes: Highlights of New York Street Photography,” provides an opportunity to compare and contrast two very different modern cities as they grappled with war, the postindustrial era and various forms of social tension.

Read the rest of the article here at the NY Times 

Imaginary Dog Star Landscapes


“He who is certain he knows the ending of things when he is only beginning them is either extremely wise or extremely foolish; no matter which is true, he is certainly an unhappy man, for he has put a knife in the heart of wonder.” ― Tad Williams, The Dragonbone Chair

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Watch LEMON Now!

Watch Lemon on PBS. See more from VOCES.

GET TO THE MET YET? Warhol & Friends @ Met Museum - Bring YOUR friends!

Dog Star is excited about this giant Warhol exhibition now open at the Metropolitan Museum.  Called "Regarding Warhol," it investigates the premise that Warhol has influenced younger artists.  From the museum website:  Commentators on contemporary art have often claimed that Warhol is the most influential artist of the last half-century. No exhibition, however, has truly examined that assertion in depth. The exhibition is built around five broad themes ranging from vernacular subject matter to celebrity portraiture to issues of sexual identity. The presentation will include approximately 150 works of art in a broad range of media across five decades. A quarter of the selected works are by Warhol, and they will be juxtaposed with key examples by some sixty leading contemporary artists. The show will be arranged as a series of thematic vignettes, not simply to demonstrate Warhol's overt influence, but to suggest how artists both worked in parallel modes and developed his model in dynamic new directions.

What's most interesting about this exhibition is that they will display Warhol's work alongside the artwork of other artists to show connections and influences. It will be a great opportunity to add to your art education by seeing these works together for the first time.

The Metropolitan Museum is EASY TO REACH at 82nd Street & Fifth Avenue and is ALWAYS $1 FOR HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS - Easy directions:  take 4, 5, or 6 train to 86th Street & Lexington Avenue and walk west to Fifth Avenue.  Walk up the cashier desk, hand a one dollar bill and say, "One, please."  You will be given a metal button to put on your shirt or jacket to wear while inside the museum.  On view until December 31, 2012.

Imaginary Dog Star Landscapes

Graffiti on a Wall in Brooklyn

Monday, October 29, 2012

U.K. Newspaper Praises Junot Diaz

Dog Star saw this post on Junot Diaz's Facebook page:  The Guardian newspaper in London praises Junot and the new collection of short stories in an Editorial (The Guardian,

In praise of ... Junot Díaz

The American writer is among the best of his generation but 'genius' does not do him justice 

Earlier this month, Junot Díaz won the most objectionably named award of the lot: a MacArthur genius grant. He doesn't deserve it. Not because he isn't brilliant – he's easily among the best of his generation of American writers – but because "genius" connotes a gift that simply requires the right weather conditions in order to flourish. Díaz works considerably harder than that, and not just because economies can go from boom to bust and back again in the time it takes him to deliver a book (16 years between his first, the short-story collection Drown, and his just-released third, This is How You Lose Her). His stories – largely about young men hungry for love but unsure what to do with it – are told in an electric mix of slangy English and Spanish, yet somehow rise above the particularities of (dead phrase alert) the immigrant experience to be both universal and wise. The term "genius" doesn't do justice to such craftsmanship.

Dog Star says GO SEE Junot Diaz - It's FREE - Go here for more information.

Thursday, November 15, 7:30 PM
Junot Diaz, author of THIS IS HOW YOU LOSE HER, at the Brooklyn Voices Series
St. Joseph’s College, Tuohy Hall
FIRST COME, FIRST SEATED - Arrive by 6:00pm to get a seat!  No kidding!

FREE! Go See Wayne Thiebaud's Cool Paintings - Bring your friends!

Dog Star is excited to see Wayne Thiebaud's Retrospective at Aquavella Galleries (go here).  We have always been a fan of Wayne's cakes (go here) and landscapes (go here).  Now everybody gets a chance to see the whole range of Wayne's artistic subjects in oil paintings in a FREE exhibition at this famous Upper East Side art gallery.  Wayne's last name is pronounced tee-bode.

Wayne Thiebaud:  A Retrospective
Acquavella Galleries
October 23 - November 30, 2012
Open Monday - Saturday, 10 am to 5 pm
18 East 79th Street (between Madison and Fifth Avenues) 

The gallery welcomes teens who are serious about exploring the art and agree to the following:  remove all headphones, turn off cell phones, speak in a low voice and leave large bags at the front desk.  Feel free to bring your friends who share your attitude and agree to be the very best teen art visitor!

From the gallery website:

Wayne Thiebaud is one of the most celebrated artists working today. Best known for painting everyday objects from gumball machines to bakeshop windows, Thiebaud uses tactile brushwork, saturated colors and luminous light for a range of subjects he describes as “people, places and things.” Although associated with Pop art of the 1960s, Thiebaud depicts subjects that reflect a nostalgia and reverence for American culture that sets him apart from the stark commercialism of Warhol and his contemporaries. Thiebaud takes a formal approach to issues of color, light, composition and space, stating that his only intention when he paints is to “get the painting to a point of resolution.” This formality lends itself to all of his many subjects and is one the reasons why the masterful quality of his paintings has remained consistent over sixty years. It is this consistency that Wilmerding hopes to highlight in the exhibition. "We are delighted to be representing Wayne Thiebaud, a major figure in the development of 20th century art whose work is just as relevant and impressive today as it was when he first gained critical acclaim in the early 60's," said Eleanor Acquavella.

Wayne Thiebaud (b. 1920) lives and works in Sacramento, CA. He has been widely recognized for his achievements as an artist and has received various prestigious awards such as the National Medal of Arts from President William Clinton, 1994; the Lifetime Achievement Award for Art from the American Academy of Design, NY, 2001 and he was inducted into The California Hall of Fame in 2010 at The California Museum, Sacramento, CA. His work has been exhibited in major museums and institutions including the Whitney Museum of American Art, NY; Wallraf-Richartz Museum, Cologne, Germany; Phoenix Art Museum, AZ and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, CA. Thiebaud’s works are also in permanent collections at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, CA; Crocker Art Museum, CA and the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York.

SAVE THE DATE! Free Jazz in Central Park on Sat. Nov. 10! - Bring your friends!

Dog Star is excited to visit Central Park on Saturday, November 10:  walk through the park to discover the sounds of over 30 jazz groups and ensembles performing FREE music in a special performance called "Jazz & Colors."  The organizers said they intend to separate the bands enough that a pedestrian strolling through the park will not be able to hear two combos at once, but will pass from one band’s sphere of sound into another.  Read more about it in The New York Times story below; be sure to click on the beautiful Coltrane song in the video, too.

‘Jazz & Colors’ to Fill Central Park With Standards

Central Park will host an unusual jazz concert in November as the fall foliage reaches its peak: 30 ensembles have been asked to play a collection of standards at different locations around the park, creating a sprawling concert with a communal set list, organizers said.

The "Jazz & Colors" event is the brainchild of Peter Shapiro, the film producer and local concert promoter behind the Brooklyn Bowl and the Capitol Theater in Port Chester. It is being produced in partnership with the Central Park Conservancy, and Mr. Shapiro's company, Dayglo Ventures, is underwriting the production costs.

Mr. Shapiro said he hopes the event on Nov. 10, which is free and open to the public, will suffuse the park with jazz without temporary stages, fences, barriers, portable toilets and other trappings of large concerts. The project was inspired, he said, by "The Gates," the public art installation by Christo and Jeanne-Claude in February 2005 that involved 7,500 cloth-covered portals on the park's pathways.
"The goal is almost an audio version of 'The Gates,'" he said. "Jazz is the kind of music you can float around to. You can experience Central Park with a score."

The lineup has yet to be announced, but will feature big bands and small combos, emerging artists and established players, across a broad range of jazz styles, organizers said. They will set up and play at 30 well-known landmarks, among them the Naumburg Bandshell, the Delacorte Theater, the Harlem Meer, Duke Ellington Circle, the East Meadow and the Glade Arch. Other groups of musicians will play at the park's major entrances and next to several playgrounds.

Doug Blonsky, the president and chief executive of the Central Park Conservancy, said the concerts should lure people into parts of the park they may not have visited before. "This is a nice way to have people explore the park without inundating them with music," he said. "It's all going to be low-key, small performances, and small set-ups."

The organizers said they intend to separate the bands enough that a pedestrian strolling through the park will not be able to hear two combos at once, but will pass from one band's sphere of sound into another.

Brice Rosenbloom, a producer known for founding the Winter Jazzfest, is booking the acts for the Central Park event. He said the musicians are being asked to perform about 18 standards, all touching on autumn or the city as a theme. The set will include "Autumn in New York," "Take the A Train," "Nature Boy," and John Coltrane's composition "Central Park West."

The groups will play two sets, starting at noon and going to 4 p.m, with student soloists providing music between sets. As is to be expected in jazz, the interpretations of the songs will be all over the map, Mr. Rosenbloom said. "The majority of the groups will play the tunes in a recognizable fashion," he said. "Some will be a little more challenging. I have told every group we encourage them to put their own spin on the tunes."

Imaginary Dog Star Landscapes


Be still my heart; thou hast known worse than this. - Homer (900 BC-800 BC)

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Gang Slang

Dog Star says the NY Post is up on its "gang intelligence" ! This piece of crap passing as journalism: The crab got a biscuit and is drinking the bumble bee’s milk. Do you know how to translate the gang terminology? The Post is trying to give Upper East Side white people something to talk about at their next cocktail party..."Oh, no, you can't wear ADIDAS anymore! Bryan! Bryan, tell Alexander he can't wear Adidas anymore - we read it in the Post! What does it mean, Bryan? All Day I Dance and Sing? That's not it at all - that doesn't sound very dangerous to me!"  Read the article here.

Marvels & Monsters at MoCA (Free on Thursdays - Bring your friends!)

Dog Star is excited to spread the news about this  fantastic exhibition at MoCA.  Comic book fans and geeks will discover racist stereotypes of Asian images and comic art in two related exhibitions:

Marvels and Monsters: Unmasking Asian Images in U.S. Comics, 1942-1986 and
Alt.Comics: Asian American Artists Reinvent the Comic

September 27, 2012 through February 24, 2013

Museum of the Chinese in the Americas (MoCA) - is EASY TO REACH at
215 Centre Street, New York (b/w Howard & Grand Streets; one block north of Canal Street)
By Subway N, R, Q, J, Z, and 6 trains to Canal Street; M9, M15, M103 buses.
CLOSED ON MONDAYS - Free on Thursdays - Go here for more!

MOCA is pleased to present two connected exhibitions that trace the complex relationship between Asian Americans and comics: Marvels and Monsters examines the history of stereotypical and politically charged depictions of Asians and Asian Americans, while Alt.Comics presents contemporary Asian American artists using the medium to craft and present their own narratives.

Marvels and Monsters: Unmasking Asian Images in U.S. Comics, 1942-1986 — The William F. Wu Collection showcases a selection of potent and indelible images of Asians and Asian Americans in mainstream comics from four defining decades of American history. The images are placed in historical context and in a discourse with contemporary Asian American writers and creators including Ken Chen, Larry Hama, David Henry Hwang, Vijay Prashad, and Gene Luen Yang. The exhibition also contains elements designed to encourage direct engagement with the archetypes, such as life-sized cutouts that allow visitors to put themselves "inside the image" and an installation called "Shades of Yellow" that matches the shades used for Asian skin tones in the comics with their garish PantoneTM color equivalents.

Science fiction author and cultural studies scholar William F. Wu painstakingly gathered an archive of comics distinguished not only by its size and reach, but by its scope: It is perhaps the world's only, and certainly the largest, collection of comic books featuring images of Asians and Asian Americans. Marvels and Monsters draws from this important collection, recently donated with the help of A/P/A Institute to the NYU Fales Library & Special Collections.

Wu's archive offers a unique and fascinating look at America's evolving racial and cultural sensibility — showing how images that began as racist and xenophobic propaganda during times of war and nativist unrest have coalesced into archetypes that still define America's perception of Asians today.

Alt.Comics extends the conversation of Marvels & Monsters into the present, when sequential art has become a dominant cultural force and communications medium, driven in no small part by Asian American creators. The exhibition will explore how Asian Americans have used the comic book medium to both critique old representations and relate their stories to a wide audience, featuring new and early original artwork from artists Gene Luen Yang, Derek Kirk Kim, Thien Pham, Lark Pien, Jason Shiga, GB Tran, Jerry Ma, Larry Hama, Alex Joon Kim, and Christine Norrie.

The exhibition focuses on alternative and independent comics spaces, showing the work and relationships between different creators from this community. A specific focus will be the San Francisco Bay Area’s and New York City’s Asian American alternative comic scenes, which fostered some of the most talented and high-profile artists working today.

A library of notable works from all represented artists will be available for the visitor to browse. The exhibition will coincide with the launch of Secret Identities Volume 2: Shattered, a follow up to the groundbreaking original compilation using the comic format “to upend, re-envision, reimagine — to shatter — the distorted and negative images that have shadowed Asian Americans since the earliest days of our arrival in this country.” Secret Identities features many of the same artists in the exhibition.

Marvels & Monsters is curated by Jeff Yang and organized by the A/P/A Institute at NYU; it was originally exhibited at NYU Fales Library, and was recently shown at the Asian Arts Initiative in Philadelphia. Alt.Comics is curated by Jeff Yang for the Museum of Chinese in America.

Jeff Yang is a cultural studies scholar and the editor of Secret Identities; he writes a column for the Wall Street Journal online called Tao Jones.

Imaginary Dog Star Landscapes

Dog Star Selects PETER BEARD

Dog Star remembers a giant Peter Beard exhibition once on Grand Street many years ago - it was free and open to the public and we returned several times with teens in our classes.  There hasn't been a Beard exhibition in NYC since then; it's definitely long over due - it would be wonderful in the new Whitney Museum opening next to The High Line.  Go here for the Peter Beard Studio.

Born in New York City in 1938, Peter Beard began taking photographs and keeping diaries from early childhood. By the time he graduated from Yale University, he had developed a keen interest in Africa. Throughout the 1960s and ’70s he worked in Tsavo Park, the Aberdares, and Lake Rudolf in Kenya’s northern frontier. His first show came in 1975 at the Blum Helman Gallery, and was followed in 1977 by the landmark installation of elephant carcasses, burned diaries, taxidermy, African artifacts, books and personal memorabilia at New York’s International Center for Photography. In addition to creating original artwork, Beard has also worked as a Vogue photographer and collaborated on projects with Andy Warhol, Andrew Wyeth, Richard Linder, Terry Southern, Truman Capote, and Francis Bacon.  In 1996, shortly after Beard was trampled by an elephant, his first major retrospective took place at the Centre National de la Photographie in Paris, France, followed by shows in Berlin, London, Milan, Stockholm, Tokyo, and Vienna, among others. He lives in New York City, Long Island, and Kenya with his wife, Nejma, and daughter, Zara. 

Peter Beard has fashioned his life into a work of art; the illustrated diaries he kept from a young age evolved into a serious career as an artist and earned him a central position in the international art world. He was painted by Francis Bacon, painted on by Salvador Dalí, and made diaries with Andy Warhol; he toured with Truman Capote and the Rolling Stones, created books with Jacqueline Onassis and Mick Jagger - all of whom are brought to life, literally and figuratively, in his work. As a fashion photographer, he took Vogue stars like Veruschka to Africa and brought new ones - most notably Iman - back to the U.S. with him. His love affair with natural history and wildlife, which informs most of his work, began when he was a teenager. He had read the books of Isak Dinesen (Karen Blixen) and after spending time in Kenya and befriending the author, bought a piece of land near hers.

It was the early 1960s and the big game hunters led safaris, with all the colonial elements Beard had read about in Out of Africa characterizing the open life and landscape, but the times were changing. Beard witnessed the dawn of Kenya's population explosion, which challenged finite resources and stressed animal populations - including the starving elephants of Tsavo, dying by the tens of thousands in a wasteland of eaten trees. So he documented what he saw - with diaries, photographs, and collages. He went against the wind in publishing unique and sometimes shocking books of these works. The corpses were laid bare; the facts were carefully written down, sometimes in type, often by hand, occasionally with blood. 

Saturday, October 27, 2012

GO SEE How African Art Influenced Modern Artists - Bring your friends!

African art inspired the 1932 work "Negro Masks" by Malvin Gray Johnson.
Dog Star likes these kinds of exhibitions because they teach us about the real connections between cultures.  In this case, the Met's new exhibition "African Art, New York, and the Avant-Garde" shows how African artifacts and objects influenced the ways modern artists made their paintings and sculptures.  We have heard people say "modern artists stole from African art" and "African artists were doing 'modern art' before Picasso and others."  These are misguided statements because they make some faulty assumptions.  Let's take a look at these assumptions and the truths behind them:

African artists were NOT doing 'modern art' before Picasso and others.  Modern art is a term invented by European art critics and art historians.  No artist ever called himself or herself a 'modern artist.'  No African artisan who created masks, sculptures, pottery or totems was ever creating what we call "art."  So it is impossible to label any African art or artisan as "modern art" or as a "modern artist."

It is important to understand that African cultural objects are ALWAYS intended to be used in an active role in a ceremony.  Art objects (paintings, sculptures, tapestries, pottery) are solely intended to be appreciated, studied and admired for their artistic qualities.  So this is an important distinction.  Members of an African tribe were not called "artists" in the way makers of art objects in Europe and America (referred to as "Western") are called artists.  In fact very often it isn't even known who made an object such as a mask because that kind of "authorship" or claim to artistic ownership is a Western concept.  A member of an African tribe was trained and worked his entire life to make masks for certain ceremonies.  He didn't "sign" the back of the mask so others know he takes credit for it.  It is only in the very late 19th century when ethnographers and other colonial "explorers" visited tribes that actual people could be identified as the maker of an African object.

Now, when African OBJECTS began to arrive in Europe and were put on display so that the general public could see them, people began to see artistic qualities to copy in their own art.  Paul Guillaume is a famous Paris art gallery owner who collected an extensive African mask and sculpture collection.  Picasso and all his friends saw Paul's collection, bought objects from him and shared them with visitors and friends.  There IS a direct connection between the directions of modern art and the African influence but it is one of inspiration - or artistic borrowing / stealing - not a failure to credit African tribes for inventing modern art.  If you want to learn more read the article below by Carol Kino (from the New York Times) and definitely make a point of visiting the Met Museum exhibition from November 27-April 14, 2013.

The Metropolitan Museum is EASY TO REACH at Fifth Avenue and 82nd Street - Take the 4, 5, or 6 trains to 86th Street & Lexington Avenue, then walk west to Fifth Avenue and then south to the Met Museum on the right hand side.  Access tip:  Walk a bit past the grand staircase in front of the museum to a street level entrance where the lines for entry, coat check and admission are much shorter.  HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS get in FREE with high school I.D. card and get a free Audio Guide - simply ask for it at the Admissions Desk. 

When Artifact ‘Became’ Art 


A SEMINAL moment for America’s avant-garde came in 1913, when the Armory Show opened its doors to an unsuspecting public. An exposition of about 1,300 works, it introduced the New York art audience to movements like Cubism, Fauvism and Futurism, as well as the work of artists like Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse and Marcel Duchamp, jolting them out of their romance with realism and toward newer, more experimental interests. 

Less heralded, however, is the fact that the Armory Show and its promotion of Modernism also helped create a taste and a market for African art in New York. This is the territory to be explored in “African Art, New York and the Avant-Garde,” which will open at the Metropolitan Museum on Nov. 27 and run through April 14. “The Armory Show is known for awakening America to modern art,” said its curator, Yaëlle Biro. “But it was also very important for African art.” 

The assistant curator of African art at the museum, Ms. Biro will use European and African works, as well as American photographs and ephemera, to illuminate the period between 1914 and 1932, when New York’s artists, dealers and connoisseurs first began to appreciate African wood sculptures as art objects rather than ethnographic artifacts. Her exhibition will include about 40 masks, figurative sculptures and other decorative objects from West and Central Africa; paintings that were once exhibited alongside them by artists like Francis Picabia, Constantín Brancusi and Diego Rivera; and photographs by Alfred Stieglitz and Charles Sheeler, among others, drawn from 18 public and private collections as well as the Metropolitan’s own holdings. 

Previous exhibitions of the period have given African art a supporting role to demonstrate its influence on Modernist artists. By contrast, said Ms. Biro, “I’m examining the context in which African art was exhibited at the time, and how that has influenced the way it is seen today.” 

Although African art had been collected in America since the 19th century, Ms. Biro said, and could be seen in natural history and ethnographic museums, its breakthrough moment is considered to be 1935, when the Museum of Modern Art mounted “African Negro Art,” a survey of work from West Central Africa. “That is usually considered as the moment when African sculptures became seen as works of art in the United States,” Ms. Biro said. “But actually a lot was happening before that, and that’s what this exhibition is about.” (She first explored the topic in a chapter of her Ph.D. dissertation at the Sorbonne, in Paris.) 

The show opens in 1914, the year that the avant-garde tastemaker Stieglitz mounted the world’s first dedicated display of African art objects at 291, his gallery on Fifth Avenue. Called “Statuary in Wood by African Savages: The Root of Modern Art,” the show comprised works from the holdings of the French art dealer Paul Guillaume, then the primary source for New York dealers. Many were figures and masks acquired from Gabon and the Ivory Coast, both French colonies at the time. The sculptures’ elongated features, lustrous surfaces and streamlined forms epitomized the aesthetics already admired by Europeans. 

Ms. Biro has managed to track down six sculptures from Stieglitz’s exhibition, including a male figure from a reliquary and a mask with geometric features. Also included is an issue of Stieglitz’s journal Camera Work that reproduces his photographs of the show, as well as a photograph that juxtaposed drawings by Picasso and Braque with a different reliquary sculpture. 

Stieglitz’s photographs also demonstrate another lure of African art for 20th-century New Yorkers, particularly a 1918 picture that shows his partner, Georgia O’Keeffe, cradling an anthropomorphic Ivory Coast spoon in her hand. She is nude and the position of the spoon makes it look surprisingly phallic, so it resonates as an erotic object. “Many layers of interpretation were added to African art after it left Africa,” Ms. Biro said. “Some saw the works as an open door to the exotic, and some admired them for their pure aesthetic qualities, while others saw them in a more erotic vein.”
Another segment is devoted to the influence of the Mexican caricaturist and dealer Marius de Zayas, who started out as Stieglitz’s scout in Europe and ended up as New York’s foremost promoter of African art. He was introduced to it in Paris by the poet and collector Guillaume Apollinaire, and became fascinated by its relationship to Cubism after meeting Picasso.

Back in New York, de Zayas persuaded Stieglitz to mount the African art survey. In 1915, de Zayas opened his own gallery, where he built the collections of the Dada salonistes Walter and Louise Arensberg; the lawyer John Quinn, a major backer of the Armory Show; and Agnes E. and Eugene Meyer, who had previously been Stieglitz’s patrons.

De Zayas went on to curate exhibitions for Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney at the Whitney Studio Club, the precursor to the Whitney Museum, the first of which was “Recent Paintings by Pablo Picasso and Negro Sculpture” in 1923. 

Work from all three collections, together with de Zayas’s own holdings and the Whitney show, were photographed by the painter Charles Sheeler, who was a photographer early in his career. Many of his photographs will be shown here, along with several pieces that once passed through de Zayas’s hands. The grouping will also include seven sculptures once owned by Quinn, who by 1922 had assembled America’s pre-eminent African art collection. He was also an avid collector of Modernist masters, including Georges Seurat and Henri Rousseau. 

Quinn’s acquisitions were sold after his death in 1924 at age 54, and little was known of the African work until Ms. Biro tracked it down. (“John Quinn is one of the great discoveries of my dissertation,” she said.) Her research shows that Quinn was acquiring work from British colonial Nigeria and the Belgian Congo, which suggests that by this point dealers in New York had access to a broader range of work. 

The final segment of the Met exhibition covers the powerful influence that these sculptures, despite the fact that they had been procured through Europe’s colonization of Africa, exerted on forward-thinking African-American artists and intellectuals. 

By 1925, the literary critic and philosopher Alain Locke, often referred to as the father of the Harlem Renaissance, was calling for a new art based on African identity and heritage. The next year, on a trip to Europe, Dr. Locke purchased a collection of African art primarily from the Belgian Congo with the dream of using it to found a museum in Harlem. Throughout 1927, the collection was exhibited in New York and toured to the Art Institute of Chicago. Sadly, however, the Depression dashed Dr. Locke’s institutional dreams and the collection was dispersed, but not before the work had considerably inspired African-American artists. A case in point is offered by a 1932 painting of two masks (SHOWN AT THE TOP OF THIS POST), one from Congo and the other from Nigeria, by the African-American painter Malvin Gray Johnson. All three objects will be shown at the Met. 

For the Met, of course, the show also represents something of a watershed moment. According to Alisa LaGamma, the museum’s curator of African art, it is the first time that Modernist work has been shown in the Rockefeller wing, which since its opening in 1982 has been devoted to the department of the arts of Africa, Oceania and the Americas. And more shows that cross such departmental boundaries are likely to happen in the future throughout the museum. 

Ms. LaGamma has already organized shows that situate Africa’s classical art traditions in a broader art historical context. A 2008 exhibition juxtaposed classical African textile masterpieces with work by contemporary artists working within that vernacular, including Yinka Shonibare, El Anatsui, and Malick Sidibé. In 2011, another show brought together work by artists inspired by iconic African masks, including Lynda Benglis and Man Ray. 

“It’s part of the vision of our director,” Ms. LaGamma said, “that these departmental entities are artificial frontiers that we must all strive to break out of.” 

“If visitors to the museum have one thing they know about African art,” she added, it’s that “it had an impact on Modernism.” For this reason, her department is “addressing that very powerful narrative that Modernism has written for African art, and we’re trying to expand it.”


Imaginary Dog Star Landscapes

Friday, October 26, 2012

Poetry Slammers Slam Knicks For Poetry Slam Diss

Dog Star re-posts this from Gothamist:

Turns out nothing inspires fear in the hearts of hulking athletes like POETRY. Yesterday, the Nuyorican Poets Café posted a picture of the Knicks' new ad campaign, which reads: "It's Friday Night. You can either watch East Village poets do battle or see real artists slam." Poets, or as they're known in sports, "Not real artists," were pissed. Hundreds of arts supporters shared the post, and their outrage. "I'm ashamed to be a Knicks fan right now," said Byron Jackson. Nicole Sweeney added with flavor straight out of a slam poem: "This ad is STRAIGHT WACK!"

MSG Networks, which ran the campaign, was approached by Urban Word NYC, a non-profit which offers free literary and slam poetry education to youths in the city. In a rare poets-beat-big-business moment, MSG Networks "promised to have the ads taken down, rapidly. Most importantly the Knicks and MSG will also continue to support youth poetry programming in the NY area," wrote Fish Vargas, a representative for Urban Word, on Nuyorican's Facebook page.

The posters, created by agency Silver + Partners, came as a big surprise in light of the Knicks' past support for slam: "For the past ten years, the Knicks had funded the Knicks Poetry Slam program," Daniel Gallant, director of the Nuyorican Cafe told us. "But they very recently decided to cancel that program (after having committed three months ago to continue funding it). They have agreed to continue their support of full-ride college scholarships for rising student poets at universities ... But the loss of the Knicks Poetry Slam will be felt this year throughout NYC's spoken word community, and this ad campaign - on the heels of such an adverse funding decision - was a kick in the teeth to the city's poets and arts educators."

Poesy may have won this battle, but the Knicks may get the last laugh, as we're guessing the poor poets will be left in the cold without $800 for tickets to next week's game

Why Obama Now

Imaginary Dog Star Soundtrack: We're bumpin' to Matisyahu's "Sunshine"

Imaginary Dog Star Landscapes

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Imaginary Dog Star Landscapes


"Whereas the tourist generally hurries back home after at the end of a few weeks or months, the traveler, belonging no more to one place than to the next, moves slowly, over periods of years, from one part of the earth to another." - Paul Bowles

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

FREE! Halloween Art Event for TEENS ONLY @ Whitney Museum (75th Street & Madison Avenue - Bring your friends!)

Dog Star wants to spread the word - FREE teen Halloween event at the Whitney Museum THIS FRIDAY OCT. 26 - 4-7:30.
The Haunted Studio:
Teen Halloween Event with Artist Tom Thayer

For teens in grades 9–12
October 26
4–7:30 pm

The Whitney’s Youth Insights Leaders invite teens to join them in the Whitney Studio for an evening of frightening sights and sounds at the Museum. Enjoy an interactive installation created by YI Leaders and artists Tom Thayer and John Jines. Create your own transfer prints, tour the galleries, dress like your favorite dead artist, and enjoy supernatural refreshments.

Go See PICASSO: BLACK & WHITE @ The Guggenheim Museum

 Dog Star is raving to everybody about this giant Picasso exhibition at the Guggenheim Museum (here).  If you've seen other Picasso shows or if you think you know what Picasso is all about - thunk again!  This Picasso show presents the Master in a fresh light by focusing (almost) exclusively on Picasso's use of black/white for special effects, for contrast, for dramatic interest and simply because he felt that in some paintings the composition (the way it is put together, the forms and images and how they are combined) is better without color.

Go on Saturdays at 5:45pm to get on line for the Pay-What-You-Wish (pay just $1)

“Picasso Black and White” continues through Jan. 23 at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, 1071 Fifth Avenue, (212) 423-3500.

Guggenheim is EASY TO REACH at 90th Street & Fifth Avenue - take 4, 5, 6 to 86th Street and Lexington Avenue then walk west to Fifth Avenue and north to 90th Street.

Dog Star re-post this review from The New York Times:

Colorless Panorama Widens Vistas of Picasso 


You might expect “Picasso Black and White,” at the Guggenheim, to feel like a glamorous gimmick — the museum-blockbuster version of Truman Capote’s Black and White Ball. 

Happily the exhibition, billed as the first monochromatic look at Picasso’s whole career, is much more than a clever conceit. It’s as eye-opening as it is elegant, especially among the later works on the upper ramps, which push well past the obligatory Neo-Classicism and Analytic Cubism into bracingly sensual explorations of the figure, strident political cries de coeur à la Guernica, and winking homages to Delacroix and Velázquez. 

“Picasso Black and White” is, furthermore, a refreshing change from the parade of shows about Picasso’s relationships with women or with other artists (“Matisse/Picasso,” “Picasso and American Art,” “Picasso and the Avant-Garde in Paris”). Here there is just Picasso, stripped down and essentialized, his classical lines and radical sense of painting as sculpture both heightened by the restricted palette. 

And in places that palette is more liberating than limiting. As Gertrude Stein put it, “There is infinite variety of gray in these pictures, and by the vitality of painting the grays really become color.” She was talking about Picasso’s early gray still lifes, but her words could easily describe later works like “Marie-Thérèse, Face and Profile” (1931), a portrait of the young and pliant muse we know from bold-hued paintings like “Le Rêve.” 

Also extraordinary: the vast majority of the show’s works are private loans, about half of them secured from the Picasso family in what is certainly a remarkable feat by the show’s curator, Carmen Giménez. (Ms. Giménez, the museum’s curator of 20th-century art and a former director of the Museu Picasso Malaga, organized the show with help from the associate curator Karole Vail.) 

Thirty-eight of the show’s 118 works have never been exhibited in this country, and 5, among them the sharply angular “Bust of a Woman With a Hat” (1939) have never been seen anywhere in public.

The implication is that we are seeing a more personal side of Picasso in his black-and-white paintings, most of which, Ms. Giménez suggests in the catalog, have wound up in the hands of the family and the Musée National Picasso in Paris because the artist was unwilling to part with them. 

The few loans from other museums do not disappoint. They include “The Milliner’s Workshop” from the Pompidou in Paris; the first of Picasso’s variations on “Las Meninas,” from the Museu Picasso Barcelona; and three studies for “Guernica” from Reina Sofía in Madrid. Together these works support a theory, voiced by the critic David Sylvester, that Picasso often turned to black and white in his busier, more ambitious paintings. It was his elegant solution to crowded compositions, “just as the reduction of color to grisaille in Analytic Cubism resulted from the pressure of its intricate problems of form.” 

“Picasso Black and White” puts forth other ideas about his reasons for paring down his palette, as he did on and off over his career. He had Blue and Rose periods but nothing resembling a “black-and-white period,” as Ms. Giménez reminds us. Or, as the photographer Brassai observed, he had several black-and-white periods: “A period of painting on a flat surface with a bright and varied palette was regularly followed by a sculptural period with little color.” 

One possible motivation for these colorless phases concerns the centuries-old tradition of grisaille, a form of gray or brown tonal painting. Often it was meant to create the illusion of sculpture, as works like Picasso’s “Bust of a Woman, Arms Raised” (1922) seem to do. (A valuable lesson of this show is that Picasso’s interest in fusing painting and sculpture did not begin and end with Cubism.) 

The black-and-white paintings may also owe something to ancient history, namely the Paleolithic cave paintings that Picasso is known to have visited and admired. The figures in “The Lovers” (1923), for instance, are thickly outlined on a brushy gray ground that could pass for limestone. 

You might also see, in parts of the show, a less classic and more contemporary Picasso — an artist who used a black-and-white palette because he saw it everywhere, in newsreels and newspapers and images in art books. Looking at “The Milliner’s Workshop” (1926), with its interlocked biomorphic forms in many shades of gray, you have the uncanny sense that you are looking at a black-and-white reproduction of a colorful abstract painting. 

The obvious explanation, however, is the show’s most haunting one: that Picasso used black and white to reconnect to his Spanish heritage. This is clear from the Guernica studies and the Velázquez-inspired “Meninas,” of course, but also from the series of seated women that he painted in Nazi-occupied Paris in the 1940s. They may have teeth on the sides of their heads and eyes that stare in different directions, but they are, unmistakably, heiresses to Goya’s gray ladies. 

The experience of “Guernica” seems to have intensified Picasso’s black-and-white painting. His large narrative works, like the “Rape of the Sabines” (1962), reveal an expanded tonal range, with high contrast reserved for areas of particular urgency. And in smaller paintings like the vanitas-themed “Skulls,” the grays thicken to thundercloud density. 

Inevitably “Picasso Black and White” is also a judgment on Picasso the colorist, repackaging a long-held criticism — that he was indifferent to or indiscriminate with color — as a virtue. “The fact that in one of my paintings there is a certain spot of red isn’t the essential part of the painting,” Picasso himself once said to Françoise Gilot. “You could take the red away, and there would always be the painting.” 

The Guggenheim has put Picasso’s words to the test, filtering color out of the picture entirely. And, just as he promised, the painting is still there. 

Imaginary Dog Star Landscapes

FREE! Go See LUNCH HOUR NYC @ Main Library on 42nd St & 5th Ave - Bring your friends!

Dog Star says this great exhibition feature not art but artifacts, menus, dioriamas, (dsiplays) and recreations of restaurants in NYC's past.  Devoted teen readers will get to this free exhibition at the main library on Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street to see the wonderful world of how lunch hour evolved in our busy city.  It's not corny at all and is amazingly a lot of fun to discover how earlier new Yorkers coped with lunch hour.  On view at the library until February 2013.

“Every thing is done differently in New York from anywhere else—but in eating the difference is more striking than in any other branch of human economy.” —George Foster, New York in Slices, 1849

The clamor and chaos of lunch hour in New York has been a defining feature of the city for some 150 years. Visitors, newly arrived immigrants, and even longtime New Yorkers are struck by the crowds, the rush, and the dizzying range of foods on offer.

Of the three meals that mark the American day, lunch is the one that acquired its modern identity here on the streets of New York. Colonial American mealtimes were originally based on English rural life, with a main meal known as “dinner” in the middle of the day. The word “lunch” referred to a snack that might be eaten at any time of the day or night, even on the run. But during the 19th century, under the pressures of industrialization, this meal pattern began to change. 

Nowhere was the change more dramatic than in New York, the burgeoning center for trade, manufacturing, and finance. Employees were given a fixed time for their midday meal, often a half hour or less. So, dinner was pushed to the end of the day, and lunch settled into a scheduled place on the clock between the hours of twelve and two.

Lunch Hour NYC looks back at more than a century of New York lunches, when the city’s early power brokers invented what was yet to be called “power lunch,” local charities established a 3-cent school lunch, and visitors with guidebooks thronged Times Square to eat lunch at the Automat. 

Drawing on materials from throughout the Library, the exhibition explores the ways in which New York City—work-obsessed, time-obsessed, and in love with ingenious new ways to make money—reinvented lunch in its own image.