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Last updateFri, 16 Sep 2016 12pm

Visual Arts

01 Feb 2016
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The Palm Springs Fine Art Fair takes place Thursday through Sunday, Feb. 11 through 14, at the Palm Springs Convention Center, 277 N. Avenida Caballeros. It costs $20 for a day pass; a VIP pass for all days is $75. For more information, visit www.palmspringsfineartfair.com. 1. Go See Photographer of the Year Ralph Gibson (pictured; photo by Andrea Blanche) Ralph Gibson studied photography in the U.S. Navy in the 1950s; he also spent two years at the San Francisco Institute of Art. He worked as an assistant to photographer Dorothea Lange and later with filmmaker Robert Frank. His photographic art is known for incorporating fragments of eroticism along with undertones of the mysterious, giving narrative meaning though context and surreal juxtaposition. He will receive his award at noon, Friday, Feb. 12; a discussion of his work will follow. See his photo “MJ, Sardinia,” at the top. Above: Billie Holiday, New…
01 Feb 2016
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You may have never heard of Nat Reed—but you’ve almost certainly seen his work before. The midcentury modern artist did the poster/cover for last year’s Palm Springs Pride, and he’s been written about in various publications. At the Palm Springs International Airport, Reed is collaborating with Virgin America to create an interactive modernism exhibit at the airline’s gate that will be on display during Modernism Week, which this year is taking place Feb. 11-21. During a recent interview, Reed discussed his art, which has an animated feel that includes various midcentury modernism elements: architecture, automobiles and even tiki. “It’s all referencing the period and things from that period,” Reed said. “Polynesian exotica and the whole tiki thing was popular in the ’50s and ’60s. … With the tikis, my grandfather was a Polynesian decorator and tiki carver, so I grew up with those all around. Those are really natural things…
25 Dec 2015
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In the arts world, Debra Ann Mumm—president and founder of the family-owned business Venus Studios Art Supply, in Palm Desert—is an oxymoron. She’s a successful artist. And she’s a successful entrepreneur. In the industry, many art galleries and supply shops close within months of opening. However, Venus Studios is celebrating its fifth anniversary with an art expo in January—and the business has not stagnated; in fact, it has expanded. Venus’ expansion about three years ago led to a significantly larger gallery space, an increased number and variety of courses, private areas individual artists can rent, and an art-supply store that carries the latest materials and is the only store in the desert where some products can be purchased. Unfortunately, artistic purists and entrepreneurial purists alike bash Mumm. The artistic purists claim that Mumm sold out and is now a lesser artist. The entrepreneurs impugn her efforts because she lacks the…
20 Nov 2015
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Temperamental artists took to the Internet after the Palm Springs Art Museum announced the works that would be included in the Artists Council Exhibition 2015. Normally, the complaining ends within a week of the announcement; however, this year, the comments seemed especially fractious. While most selected artists took pride in their inclusion, many Artists Council members who were not included criticized every aspect of the selection process, from the number of jurors to the number of submissions per artist. (Full disclosure: I submitted art to the show which was not selected.) Some suggested that the museum create a show featuring the rejects. Regrettably, a small contingency made the conversation personal, impugning the integrity and competency of Artists Council peers. The results of the selection process are now on display for everyone to see. Unfortunately, I found a fair number of the pieces to be derivative, in a way that does…
05 Nov 2015
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Lee Balan is well-known as the town crier, of sorts, for the area’s arts. He gathers information about receptions, events, performances and exhibits throughout the Coachella Valley and High Desert, and sends it to anyone who wants it. However, many people don’t know about Balan’s talents as a visual artist. Some of his newer works will be on exhibit at Woodman/Shimko Gallery in a Gay Pride-themed show, starting with a reception on Friday, Nov. 6. Before moving to the desert from the San Francisco Bay Area more than a decade ago, Balan frequently integrated his art with his other professional responsibilities. For example, Balan, as the director of a San Francisco mental-health program called The Clubhouse, demonstrated how creative efforts can be effective tools when working with the mentally ill. Some might consider Balan’s current arts emphasis—the digital manipulation of visual images—quite different from the assemblages and sculptures he created…
18 Sep 2015
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To tweak (and possibly abuse) Dickens’ classic line: “It was the best of heels. It was the worst of heels.” This sentiment summarizes the Palm Springs Art Museum’s recently opened exhibit Killer Heels: The Art of the High-Heeled Shoe. Organized by New York City’s Brooklyn Museum, the exhibition introduces visitors to the evolution of the high-heeled shoe. Inside each of the many free-standing plastic-glass cases are between 4 and 7 high-heeled shoes. Each case speaks to either a social/historical event that triggered a specific theme (like space exploration) or the transformation of a style over a period of time (over-the-knee boots, stiletto heels). In addition to the plastic-glass cases, the exhibit includes six short films. The curators see high heels as far more than footwear. The exhibit presents heels as an individual and/or societal interpretation of beauty, wealth, mystique and fantasy, as well as role, status and power. Essentially, each…