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Visual Arts

04 May 2015
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An exhibit of the works of either Ansel Adams or Dorothea Lange is a “must see.” However, it approaches artistic nirvana when a museum hangs images by both icons in the same show. The La Quinta Museum is doing just that right now in the exhibit Iconic Light, on display through Aug. 15. The two greats were contemporaries; in fact, they both served as photography faculty at the California School of Fine Arts. Adams’ black-and-white photographs remain visionary and meticulous. His images more than communicate the beauty of the American landscape and wilderness; they speak to his lifelong commitment as a conservationist. His photos here, taken at the Boyd Deep Canyon Desert Research Center near Palm Desert, do not disappoint. Adams’ image of a cholla cactus is beautifully eerie. In the foreground, a single tall cholla stands in front of what appears to be a boulder. The lighting creates an…
27 Mar 2015
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Who would endeavor to elevate the lowly, utilitarian dish rag into a highly collectible art form? The Japanese would—and the reasons why can be discovered at Woodman/Shimko Gallery in Palm Springs. Dating back to 800 AD, tenugui, first made in woven silk, were used use in religious rituals. By the early 19th century, tenugui became a prop for storytellers as part of a comical monologue or a traditional story. When Japan began to cultivate cotton during the 1800s, tenugui were transformed into a household necessity to be washed and reused—artistic dish towels, in other words. The size of tenugui have not changed since the ninth century: Each is 35 by 90 centimeters, or roughly 13 3/4 by 35 1/2 inches. “I received my first tenugui as a gift,” said Woody Shimko, of Woodman/Shimko Gallery. “It was a hand towel that had three Japanese words: tree, grove, forest. I was hooked.…
02 Mar 2015
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The tale told by Jennifer Karady: In Country, Soldiers’ Stories From Iraq and Afghanistan, a powerful photography exhibit now on display at the Palm Springs Art Museum, has three parts; however, gallery visitors get to see only two. We see the prologue, which lets us know what occurs prior to soldiers being deployed. We see the epilogue, in which we meet members of the military after they return to their homes. What happens in between—the events and their experiences during their tours of duty—is left to the viewer’s imagination. This forces us to create our own narrative; it creates a palpable tension. The exhibition appropriately takes up most of the gallery space on the museum’s lower floor. Karady begins her narrative in the long, narrow Jorgensen Gallery—a confined space that forces visitors to view each image on its own terms. The 17 smaller images, plus some Polaroid pictures, presented in…
17 Feb 2015
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As I stepped onto the back patio of Modernism Week’s Christopher Kennedy Compound on Yosemite Drive in Palm Springs, the view of the nearby golf course and the San Jacinto Mountains was breathtaking. The home and its furnishings weren’t bad, either. Tour guides explain that the home was purchased by Kennedy, with the rooms done by various interior designers, whose credits appear on wall plaques. When I stepped into the living room, the first thing I noticed was strange paintings. One depicted a half-dozen or so people in water—with a few of them looking horrified. Another featured a grinning man who looked like sci-fi author Isaac Asimov. The painting above the sofa? It showed a house in the middle of a flood, of course. (See below.) Moving down the hallway and into the master bedroom, you’ll find a gargantuan walk-in closet. The retro style, including decorative paper on the ceiling,…
06 Feb 2015
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The Fourth Annual Palm Springs Fine Art Fair, one of the season’s most anticipated fine-art events, is returning to the desert. From Thursday evening, Feb. 12, through the late afternoon on Sunday, Feb. 15, the Palm Springs Fine Art Fair will take over the Palm Springs Convention Center. The Presidents Day weekend event has rapidly grown from a small set of exhibitors into a destination event for many in the art world. It’s a great venue to see a full range of modern and contemporary visual art. “As someone who has been to the fair in past years, I’m looking forward to this year’s fair. It is always exciting to have the opportunity to show the artists I represent,” said Peter Blake, of Peter Blake Gallery in Laguna Beach. “Even if I didn’t have a booth, coming to this fair is a given: It is a great opportunity to see…
04 Feb 2015
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When it comes to Modernism Week’s various tours, there’s good news, and there’s bad news. The good news: This year’s 10th-anniversary edition of Modernism Week features more tours than ever before. Mark Davis, the treasurer of Modernism Week’s board of directors (and Modernism Week’s unofficial tour guru), said that more than 20 neighborhood tours are being offered in 2015. That’s up from nine in 2014. The bad news: A lot of these tours are already sold out. In other words, if you’re interested in learning more about the unique and groundbreaking architecture of the Coachella Valley, you’d better head to and get your tickets now. The speedy ticket sales are a testament to the fact that midcentury modern architecture is as popular as it’s ever been (or, well, at least more popular than it’s been since the actual midcentury modern era of the 1950s and ’60s). “During the sad…