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Out of the refuse of modern life—torn scraps of outdated magazines, destined for obscurity—Muniz has assembled an ode to one of the first paintings of modern life.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, April 30, 2014

Bramhall Cartoon on Donald Sterling

I get it that's a reference to the Clippers players' actions before one of their games.  This kind of message has the effect of trivializing the real mental and physical terror of a KKK action which is a far more serious threat to civil liberties than Sterling's stupidity (however degrading Sterling's words/conduct he didn't actually cause bodily harm or terrorize a family like the KKK).  

I think it's too convenient to draw these comparisons, as if saying, "Donald Sterling is the modern KKK."  Donald Sterling is not a proxy (or a stand in) for anything.  He is a singular dumb ass who has a highly cultivated sense of racial superiority...Although now on further reflection that's something he has in common with the KKK!

What do you think about the cartoon's analogy? 

Dog Star Selects Renzo Piano's KANAK CULTURAL CENTER

RENZO PIANO's Jean-Marie Tjibaou Cultural Center, 1991–98.

The Jean-Marie Tjibaou Cultural Centre, on the narrow Tinu Peninsula, northeast of the historic centre of Nouméa, the capital of New Caledonia, celebrates the vernacular Kanak culture, the indigenous culture of New Caledonia, amidst much political controversy over the independent status sought by the Kanaks from French colonial rule. 
It opened in June 1998 and was designed by Italian architect Renzo Piano and named after Jean-Marie Tjibaou, the leader of the independence movement who was assassinated in 1989 and who had a vision of establishing a cultural center which blended the linguistic and artistic heritage of the Kanak people.
The Kanak building traditions and the resources of modern international architecture were blended by Piano. The formal curved axial layout, 250 metres (820 ft) long on the top of the ridge, contains ten large conical cases or pavilions (all of different dimensions) patterned on the traditional Kanak Grand Hut design. The building is surrounded by landscaping which is also inspired by traditional Kanak design elements.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Donald Sterling Banned for Life - NBA Pess Conference

The Sterling Ban: 10 Takeaways from Adam Silver’s and Kevin Johnson’s Press Conferences (The Nation)

We learned a great deal today from the back-to-back press conferences of NBA Commissioner Adam Silver and National Basketball Players Association liaison/Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson. Let’s count it down.

1. History is made. Donald Sterling, when he was growing up as Donnie Tokowitz in Boyle Heights, always wanted to be a big shot and now he is: the first major sports owner in the United States to ever be banned for life.

2. Audio/video is king in today’s media. The end of Donald Sterling did not come from years of racist behavior as a slumlord, the damning court documents about his behavior or the hearsay of others. It happened because people heard with their own words the man’s vile racism and—although much less commented upon—his deep misogyny. They were repelled and Sterling was toast.

3. Open, abject racism is bad for business. Sterling has been a racist for years but this audiotape has sponsors fleeing for the hills, players stewing with thoughts of rebellion and coaches calling for fan boycotts. Business as usual was not going to cut it. In what Michelle Alexander calls “the New Jim Crow in an age of color blindness,” being an old school, open racist is toxic.


Donald Sterling Racist Tape New Extended Version (It gets ugly!)

Parents Call Cops to Stop Kids From Handing Out Banned Book

After a group of Idaho parents succeeded in getting a novel pulled from a school's 10th grade curriculum, they called the cops on students who organized to give away copies of the banned book. 

Earlier this month, parents convinced Idaho's Meridian school district to ban Sherman Alexie's National Book Award-winning Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian over the objections of 350 students who signed a petition to keep it. 


Dog Star Selects Wayne Levin's Underwater Photography

Monday, April 28, 2014


"It’s not that the sacred is here and the profane is over there. Everything is profane if you live on the surface of it, and everything is sacred if you go into the depths of it - even your sin."
- Richard Rohr

Friday, April 25, 2014

Dog Star Selects Philip Johnson's Last Building

Last summer, Dog Star came across this video in a post on another blog honoring the architect's birthday.  Johnson designed this chapel - which become part of a larger cathedral complex in years to come - for a LGBT Christian church in Dallas, TX called Cathedral of Hope Ministry.

The chapel's design looks remarkably similar in size and style to a smaller building on Johnson's estate property called "Da Monsta" in New Canaan, CT in which he creates a "living sculpture" - a work of art that one can walk into.

The Cathedral of Hope Interfaith Peace Chapel is world-renowned architect Philip Johnson's last building. Enjoying an amazingly long and celebrated career, Johnson died less than three months after completing the chapel's design sketches at the age of ninety-nine. The final design details and project documentation were developed in joint-venture by Johnson's firm Philip Johnson Alan Ritchie Architects, award winning architect-of-record Cunningham Architects, and the Design Team from the Cathedral of Hope. Constructors & Associates, Dallas, has been selected as general contractor. 

This chapel HAS BEEN BUILT - read a story about it here.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Swoon: Submerged Motherlands at Brooklyn Museum - Bring your friends and family!

Discover French Painter Henri Toulouse-Lautec

Dog Star is a huge fan of thsi French painter's work.  We are lucky to live in NYC where there are many examples of his artwork on view in our museums.
(His name is pronounced on-ree two-lose luh-trek.)
 Legendary painter HENRI TOULOUSE-LAUTREC stood only five feet tall but surely had a 20 foot swag!

He is described always as charismatic, engaging and fully tolerant of others. He was about having a good time.

Born into an aristocratic family, he suffered numerous ailments which accounts for his short legs (they never grew properly).

At age 18 he moves to Paris to enter an art school. A few years later Vincent Van Gogh moves to Montmartre and they become close friends (Henri was one of Vincent's few friends. Van Gogh acted irrationally and had outbursts in public that angered shopkeepers and passersby and his behavior got him pushed off streets where he was painting.)

Henri also visited London - which he loved - and became friends with Oscar Wilde, too!

He supported himself by doing commercial illustrations for the dance halls and nightclubs in the Montmartre area but he also sold paintings. He died at age 36 most likely from syphilis and alcoholism.

Read more here
Paintings shown below are currently on view at the Metropolitan Museum of Art at Fifth Avenue & 82nd Street.  The museum is open SEVEN DAYS A WEEK and is FREE for high school students.  Take the 4, 5, 6train to 86th Street & Lexington Avenue and walk west to Fifth Avenue.  Text below the paintings is from the Met's website.

Woman before a Mirror (1897) in Gallery 802 
In this work of 1897 a woman frankly confronts her reflection, as in Degas's many pictures of women dressing and bathing. Unlike Degas, however, Lautrec makes the brothel setting evident, whereas Degas left his settings ambiguous. 

The Sofa (1894) in Gallery 817
An inveterate chronicler of the colorful and tawdry nightlife of fin-de-siècle Montmartre, Lautrec set out to document the lives of prostitutes in a series of pictures made between 1892 and 1896. In creating these uninhibited works, he seems to have been influenced by Degas's monotypes of brothel scenes and by erotic Japanese Shunga prints. Lautrec was no stranger to the world-weary "filles de maison" whose companionship he sought and whose habits he observed on his nightly rounds. Critical of stiff and lifeless models, he appreciated the naturalness of prostitutes "who stretch themselves out on the divans . . . entirely without pretensions." At first Lautrec made sketches in the brothels, but he was apparently hampered by insufficient lighting and had the prostitutes pose in his studio.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

What We Get in the Media

Branded by the Pink Triangle

From Ken Setterington's book on the Nazxi campaign against lesbians and gays:

"Before the rise of the Nazi party, Germany, especially Berlin, was one of the most tolerant places for homosexuals in the world. Activists such as Thomas Mann and Albert Einstein campaigned openly for the rights of gay men and women and tried to repeal the law against homosexuality. But that all changed when the Nazis came to power; existence for gay people became fear-filled. Raids, arrests, prison sentences and expulsions became the daily reality. When the concentration camps were built, homosexuals were imprisoned along with Jews and any other groups the Nazis wanted to suppress.

The pink triangle sewn onto prison uniforms became the symbol of the persecution of homosexuals, a persecution that would continue for many years after the war. A mix of historical research, first-person accounts and individual stories brings this time to life for young readers. Stories of bravery in the face of inhuman cruelty, friendship found in the depths of despair in the camps and the perseverance of the human spirit will educate and inspire."


Monday, April 21, 2014

Derrick Gordon: Don't Wait To Come Out

"Don't wait. Take advantage of everything that you have in front of you. Don’t wait because you’re scared. Don’t wait until you’re 35 or 40 years old and done playing the sport that you love. Because it’s stressful to live that way. I cried most of the nights when I was in the closet just because it starts to take a toll on you just because you’re worried about how people are going to think about you and what they’re going to say about you. Take advantage of it now. It’s going to make your life so much easier." 

- Recently out NCAA basketball player Derrick Gordon, speaking on Michelangelo Signorile's SiriusXM show.

Springtime for Vincent (Part 2 of 2)

Discover Vincent van Gogh here.

Hide the Artwork!

When it became imminent the Nazis would invade France, the Louvre leaped into action and moved artwork into vaults, cellars and even to secret locations outside the city (where Mona Lisa was sent). A statue storage!

Sunday, April 20, 2014

FREE! Go See Japanese Art Collection - Bring your friends and family!

Great video - but do visit Japan Society to see the exhibition...Click here for Japan Society - which is in east Midtown:

Admission is free to all on Friday nights, 6-9 pm. 

Image above:  Hiroshige's Matsushima in Oshu Province (1855)

Five Paintings We Love @ The Frick - Bring your friends and family!

Dog Star enjoys The Frick Collection because it NEVER changes its permanent collection - it always has on view the paintings Henry Clay Frick selected and placed within his home.  

This does not mean the Frick doesn't have room for special exhibitions; it has separate spaces for temporary little shows.  We want devoted readers to visit the Frick to see these paintings in person - for yourself.  

The descriptions of the paintings are taken from the museum's website.  

Here is a photo of the West Gallery - imagine having this room in your home as your private art collection.  It's just ONE of the rooms you will see at the Frick:

The Frick welcomes quiet and respectful teens who put away all electronics, check their coats and bags and enjoy this very special museum as if they are visiting a stranger's home.  The Frick is open to ALL NEW YORKERS!

The Frick Collection (more here) is EASY TO REACH at 70th Street and Fifth Avenue - take the 6 train to 68th Street / Hunter College and walk over to 5th Avenue from Lexington & 68th. Admission for teens is $10 (students with valid identification).  Dog Star says go early on Sundays and pay just $1!  On Sundays, pay what you wish from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

Learn more about the Frick family and origins of the collection and museum here.  The museum was planned as a permanent art collection to be open to the public by its founder Henry Clay Frick!

PAINTING #1 - ABOUT THE PAINTING ABOVE:  Lodovico Capponi painted by Agnolo Bronzino. This proud young aristocrat is Lodovico Capponi (b. 1533), a page at the Medici court. As was his custom, he wears black and white, his family's armorial colors. His right index finger partially conceals the cameo he holds, revealing only the inscription sorte (fate or fortune) — an ingenious allusion to the obscurity of fate. In the mid 1550s Lodovico fell in love with a girl whom Duke Cosimo had intended for one of his cousins. After nearly three years of opposition, Cosimo suddenly relented, but he commanded that their wedding be celebrated within twenty-four hours.   

WHY WE LOVE IT: We like to think that Frick chose this painting of Capponi because of its association with one of the most powerful families in history.  The Medici family of the Italian Renaissance ruled over the region of Florence / Tuscany and nobody did anything without their permission.  They made a fortune owning farms, mills, textile (tapestry) companies and family members were even connected to the Vatican in Rome.  Frick most likely admired this young man and may have seen an aspect of himself in the picture:  bold, proud and ready for the upper classes!

PAINTING #2 - ABOUT THE PAINTING ABOVE: Gilbert Stuart  (1755 - 1828) George Washington, 1795-1796  Stuart earned a fortune producing replicas of the three portraits he painted from life of the first President of the United States. The Frick canvas is thought to be one of two copies painted by the artist for the Philadelphia merchant John Vaughan. It belongs to the group known as the “Vaughan type,” although it differs from the related versions in the color of the coat and in the treatment of the background. Stylistically the portrait recalls the work of Stuart’s English contemporaries, such as Romney and Hoppner.

WHY WE LOVE IT: The first thing to know is that the portrait of Washington on the one dollar bill is by Gilbert Stuart - same artist.  We like this painting because it shows our first president in a red velvet coat and we like to think Frick liked that, too.

PAINTING #3 - ABOUT THE PAINTING ABOVE: Johannes Vermeer  (1632 - 1675) Mistress and Maid, 1666-1667  The subject of writing and receiving letters, which recurs frequently in Vermeer’s work, is given an exceptional sense of dramatic tension in this painting of two women arrested in some moment of mysterious crisis. The lack of final modeling in the mistress’ head and figure and the relatively plain background indicate that this late work by Vermeer was left unfinished. Nevertheless, the artist seldom if ever surpassed the subtly varied effects of light seen here as it gleams from the pearl jewelry, sparkles from the glass and silver objects on the table, and falls softly over the figures in their shadowy setting. Bought by Mr. Frick in 1919, the year of his death, this painting was his last purchase and joined Rembrandt’s Self-Portrait, Holbein’s Sir Thomas More, Bellini’s St. Francis, and Velázquez’ King Philip IV among his favorite acquisitions.

WHY WE LOVE IT: Frick had exquisite taste and bought the very best paintings.  His taste in art is strongly conservative; by the time of his death in 1919 cubism and abstratcion were very popular but he would never have bought those kinds of pictures - he did not have a taste for "modern" art.  But there is just no disputing the beauty of a Vermeer - the way he handles the light so delicately!

PAINTING #4 - ABOUT THE PAINTER/ING ABOVE: Rembrandt Harmensz. van Rijn  (1606 - 1669) Self-Portrait, 1658.  Rembrandt first studied art in his native Leyden and later worked under Pieter Lastman in Amsterdam. Around 1625 he returned to Leyden, but in 1631/32 he settled permanently in Amsterdam. Although he enjoyed a great reputation and pupils flocked to him, he suffered financial difficulties that led to insolvency in 1656. By 1660 most of his debts were settled, and his last years were spent in relative comfort. Rembrandt painted many portraits, biblical scenes, and historical subjects.

WHY WE LOVE IT: This painting was completed about ten years before the painter died.  By the time he painted it his career had long been over.  And yet Rembrandt makes himself look so majestic, so regal like a king who is still at the top of his game.

PAINTING #5 - ABOUT THE PAINTING ABOVE: Jean-August-Dominique Ingres  (1780 - 1867) Comtesse d'Haussonville, 1845Louise, Princesse de Broglie (1818–82) and granddaughter of Madame de Staël, married at the age of eighteen. Her husband was a diplomat, writer, and member of the French Academy, and she herself published a number of books, including biographies of Robert Emmet and Byron. For her time and her elevated social caste, she was outspokenly independent and liberal. This portrait, begun in 1842, was the fruit of several false starts and a great many preparatory drawings, including full-scale studies of the raised left arm, the head, and its reflection. According to a letter written by the artist, the finished work “aroused a storm of approval among her family and friends.” Ingres appears to have surprised the young lady in the intimacy of her boudoir, where she leans against an upholstered fireplace, having just discarded her evening wrap and opera glasses.  

WHY WE LOVE IT: This painter's last name is pronounced eng-ah.  It's so easy to see why Frick would have loved this painting and why we love it, too.  The Comtesse is so beautiful and so charming in this portrait while also hinting that she is ready and willing to have an intelligent conversation.

Discover Chinese Art! Peacocks and Hollyhocks (Bian Lu, China, Yuan Dynasty, Metropolitan Museum of Art)

Friday, April 18, 2014

Gabriel García Márquez Has Died - Legendary Writer Won Nobel Prize

Gabriel García Márquez, the Colombian novelist whose “One Hundred Years of Solitude” established him as a giant of 20th-century literature, died on Thursday at his home in Mexico City. He was 87.


Wonder Woman as a Critique of White Feminism

Dog Star re-posts from this blog pewpewlasernipples:
This excerpt from Super Friends Vol 1 #25 kind of summarizes what white feminism is. Nubia, is depicted as the long lost twin of Diana at one point but only ever appears when she is kidnapped by villains and needs to be saved/unbrainwashed. She stopped appearing in the 80s though, so I don’t know what happened there. 
In this issue, Wonder Woman is seen trying to “liberate” women in a non-specific country somewhere on the African content. Wonder Woman tells the woman in this village in some non-specific place in Africa that the men see women as objects here (sure OK) and it is up to her, Diana, to “liberate” them. Under the temporary control of Overlord, Nubia comes down and is like “hey can you not” to Wonder Woman, hence this passage.
Look at the expressions on the faces of the women who Diana is supposedly “liberating” in response to Nubia saying “—Me! I am their Wonder Woman!”. One of them is even saying “Nubia! My Black sister!”. Given that and the facial expressions on their faces, it doesn’t look like their all too upset with Nubia interrupting Dianas attempt to “liberate” them, in fact I’d go as far as to say they are welcome to the interruption. They are cheering her on. Under evil influence or not, the women who Diana wants to “liberate” seem to welcoming Nubia essentially telling Diana to step back.
In the next two panels shes basically saying “you don’t know what’s going on here. I do. Don’t worry.”. She’s telling Diana you are not needed here, stop.
And how does Diana react? “No one speaks to me in that tone! I will dispose of you first—ex leader!” and then attacks Nubia. Diana doesn’t listen to Nubia who is being cheered on by the women she is claiming to want to help, she is instead attacking Nubia for telling her she doesn’t know the situation. Essentially Diana can not put her pride aside long enough to listen to Nubia and think for second “hey maybe I’m not needed” and instead starts further conflict. Diana doesn’t want to let go of control even when it is what is best for the situation when someone else has got it covered. She doesn’t want to listen. And I kind of think that in many ways parallels white feminism. 

Thursday, April 17, 2014


“I paint my own reality. The only thing I know is that I paint because I need to, and I paint whatever passes through my head without any other consideration.”
― Frida Kahlo was a Friend of Free Expression

Springtime for Vincent (Part 1 of 2)

Discover Vincent van Gogh here.


Oscar was 10 years old when his family moved from a small village in Columbia to London's East End (20 years ago it was like Williamsburg 20 years ago and is now like Wburg / Bushwick / Ridgewood - gentrified / gentrifying...)
Nobody spoke a word of English. His parents worked as office cleaners and factory workers. He did the same. He showed an early interest in art and enters art school. He got up at 5am to clean offices before art classes to pay his way.

In the early days of gentrifying East London he worked odd jobs for art galleries and met all kinds of people. He is encouraged and has an early supporter in one guy in particular who guides / manages him toward art success. His canvases now sell for $300,000 and up.

Now, 28 years old, and unfairly (for him) being labeled the 21st century Jean-Michel Basquiat, Oscar Murillo will have his first exhibition in NYC and it's gonna be HUGE...

Read this fantastic profile in The New York Times

Link to the David Zwirner Gallery here

Dog Star Selects a Detail of a Ceiling Fresco - "Juno Bound," 1519 Painted by Correggio (Italian, 1489-1534)