Friday, August 22, 2008

El Greco to Velazquez at Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University

I was lucky to schedule a site visit to Duke for my job at ASI Modulex on the same day as the preview for El Greco to Velazquez at the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University today. In the spirit of Ferris Bueller visiting the Art Institute of Chicago on his infamous day off, I gleefully hopped up the steps to the Nasher shortly after 4:00pm when I usually work until 5:30 or later!

Upon visiting El Greco to Velazquez it took me a while to acclimate inside the Nasher atrium. The information desk has moved to make way for the new, black and beautiful Calder sculpture, so I had to pause and get my bearings. There it is! The round information booth is now to the left after entering and has become a point of sale for Audio Tours!

Right away that has to qualify my favorite museum in a new tier of legitimacy: Audio Tours! I had to get one which happened to be from my friend Kyna who heralds her own brand of Duke and Durham connections. She encouraged me to volunteer for the Nasher during the El Greco show. I told her that sounds like a great idea.

Audio Tour in hand I rush to the large banners. I have no ticket. How did this happen? Oh! There it is back there! The Ticket Booth! Which is now a straight desk, not curved and in the middle of the Atrium, but to the right of the entrance to the permanent collection pavilion. I hurriedly got my ticket (Thanks, Juline!) and made it into the show.

I encountered more new intellectual territory when I passed the Label Books (Gallery Copy) that guide you through the show in addition to the Audio Tour. With my Label Book open to page one I start to listen to the show. Background music! Sarah Schroth is at my command, excitedly adding spice to the informative male voice in the recordings.

The paintings are beautiful and you don’t need me to write about that. That’s been done for you by experts. What I will tell you is that what the exhibition notes say is true: Some of these works have never been out of Spain, and I encountered new elements within familiar religious themes. Look for the Seraphim in the Carducho Stigmatization. What does the Leopard represent to the right of the Apostolado?

I only made it through the first room, so I didn’t even get to see the portrait of the Duke of Lerma. That’s where the historical significance of the show really takes off. The patronage of contemporary art in the court of King Philip III had a lot to do with the Duke of Lerma. I gathered from Sara’s interview on the Nasher blog that he was a very diplomatic and peaceful man.

Many people out there may dismiss political leadership in an art exhibition, and if so that’s appropriate. The art is good enough by itself. However, when the art historical context of El Greco to Velazquez elevates my idea of making peace with other countries by fostering creative expression, it’s like the show was custom tailored for my best intentions.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Lineaism on display at 202 Lounge

Hello fellow travelers on Spaceship Earth,

For those of you not on the ETA Cafe Calendar on Facebook, SURPRISE! I had my first solo opening in over two years this past Sunday at my boy Ahmad's place, the 202 Lounge. I've been eager to show there since I saw Ahmad's attention to detail with other artists he had chosen. Sadly we had to take down the work of Grant Haze to make room for mine, but luckily Ahmad will be putting up his own show shortly after mine comes down.

Join me for the closing reception, Sunday Sept 14th at 8pm with live jazz from Brian Horton. Below is a rough composite of the show.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Goldenbelt: Meet the Artists

The Triangle Area of North Carolina made a strong statement for the arts last night when the Young Friends of the Nasher Museum at Duke University invited their ranks to visit the Artist Studios at Goldenbelt. 300 guests, all Nasher Museum members at this private event, RSVP'd from Durham, Raleigh, and Chapel Hill.

The turnout last night more than tripled from the projected number of guests at the first event since artists moved in within the last week. Some spaces still had unprimed walls, some primed, and others with bold colors to contrast the white gallery walls and earthtone brick, wood, and concrete.

As I conversed with friends and artists, the hopes I had for Goldenbelt were clearly coming to life. This is a creative enterprise accepted by the Triangle as a new Art Meccca and worthy of international export. Many of the Goldenbelt artists, such as Warren Anthony Hicks with representation in Beijing, are already Goldenbelt art ambassadors, showing the world that Durham's artists are in a unique position.

With an art scene that, regardless of the generations who have proven themselves here, seems so young and vibrant, the environment is ripe to take on the issues of our humanity, which I see as the true nature of artists. The Triangle of North Carolina, with its Universities, Scientific Research, BioFuel production, Solar Energy and Green Building stronghold, cradles and feeds its artist to represent the same everyday solutions in their art that are forged in laboratories and workshops all around us.

Goldenbelt will once again lead in manufacturing: the manufacturing of ideas, creative goods, and a synergistic fellowship that will stimulate all those who enter from all walks of life. As with any institution, buildings make it easier to assemble and unify. In the end, however, as Andy Rothschild of Scientific Properties stated, it's the people that really matter. These people and this place will inspire many more events after last night, the first social success of the Artists Studios at Goldenbelt.