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Visual Arts

24 Apr 2016
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Every year at Coachella, the art installations cause a variety of reactions. “Wow.” “Interesting.” “WTF?” “Tower of Twelve Stories” by Jimenez Lai of Taiwan/Canada really lights up the Coachella night sky this year. It sort of resembles a piece of modern furniture, with compartments put together to form one structure. It may be a statement as to how we’ll be living in tiny spaces in very strange buildings in the future. One installation that is on the “WTF” part of the scale is “The Armpit.” It led to the first time I’ve ever been able to say, “Let’s get in line to see ‘The Armpit!’” It’s meant to be interactive. The minute you walk up the ramp and inside the armpit (that just sounds funny, doesn’t it) … it, thankfully, is not very armpit-like. The first room of the work, designed by Katrina Neiburga and Andris Eglitis of Latvia, features…
17 Apr 2016
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“Fundamentally antagonistic” is an appropriate phrase to use when describing the works of John Sloan and Alexander Calder, two celebrated artists who set benchmarks during the first 75 years of the last century. Over the first half of the century, Sloan incorporated New York City’s energy with social commentary through his oils, drawings and prints. As a Sloan protégé, Calder learned to create highly detailed, technically exacting and subtly nuanced oils, prints and works on paper. Sloan’s influence was reflected in Calder’s early works. However, Calder did not imitate his teacher. Shortly after graduating from art school, Calder—who had previously earned a mechanical-engineering degree—reinvented himself, in the process redefining sculpture. Sometime in the early 1930s, a Calder piece at a gallery exhibition announced his unique and highly personal aesthetic: One avant garde artist called it “mobile.” About five years later, the artist re-branded himself yet again, and further broadened the…
28 Mar 2016
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I’ve spent more than 45 years learning about art and artists—and I remain in awe of Marc Chagall. The unlikely artist was one of nine children born into an extremely poor, highly religious Jewish family. Chagall grew up in a shtetl (a small, ghetto-like village) in Vitebsk, Belarus, then part of the Russian Empire. He married his muse Bella Rosenfeld in 1909; he moved to Paris in 1910. Chagall’s personal style and creativity flourished after moving to a Parisian art colony, where he received exposure to the early 20th century avant garde creative-art movements. This highly prolific artist’s successes extend well beyond traditional media, like painting, drawing and printmaking: He also championed frequently overlooked art forms, including stained glass, fiber arts and mosaics. Throughout his life, Chagall created art that frequently contained a narrative reflecting his youth in Vitebsk. While some might think—incorrectly—that much of his art was too narrowly…
01 Mar 2016
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While Indian Wells will be the focus of the tennis world for much of March thanks to the BNP Paribas Open, art will share the spotlight from Thursday, March 17, to Sunday, March 20, thanks to the first Spectrum Indian Wells, a juried contemporary art show. During a recent interview with Eric Smith, the Spectrum Indian Wells founder and Redwood Media Group CEO, he explained his local ties. After spending 13 years in Cleveland, Smith now makes his home here in the Coachella Valley. “We don’t really do art festivals—we do art shows,” Smith said. “It’s hard walls about 10 feet high with truss lighting systems, and it’s more of a gallery atmosphere. We do six across the country: San Diego; we do two in Miami; New York; Santa Fe; and one here in Indian Wells. I was the original founder of the Palm Springs International Art Fair in 1999.…
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…