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51 posts categorized "Art" Feed

January 20, 2012

Photo Gallery Wants Performers to 'Show Off Their Human Forms'

Darkroom Gallery wants your body. 4corrnersPC

Well, not just any body. They're looking for one or two "tastefully and scantily clad" performers, dancers or models to enhance the opening reception of their new exhibit, "The Human Form," on Sunday, January 29, from 3-5 p.m.

These underdressed specimens won't exactly be performing — "I don't want the focus taken off the photographs," says gallery manager Susan Robinson — but they will "show off their human forms." In other words: They'll be just a couple more works of art.

"We're this little gallery in Essex Junction," says Robinson. "We're trying to bring more people in." If there's one surefire way to get folks through the door, it's the promise of a little flesh.

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December 21, 2011

Burlington Photographer Chosen As Finalist in National Geographic Photo Contest

Zoe BarracanoThere's probably no greater honor for an aspiring photographer, short of winning a Pulitzer, than to have one's work recognized by National Geographic. This month, that honor belongs to Zoë Barracano of Burlington, whose photograph, "Magnetism," was chosen as one of 10 finalists in National Geographic's "Story Without Words" global photo contest.

Barracano's picture (right) was shot several years ago in India while she and her family were living in Singapore and traveling around Asia. It was chosen by Dan Westergren, senior photo editor for National Geographic Traveler magazine, who had the daunting task of sifting through more than 7000 submissions to select just 10 finalists.

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December 20, 2011

Center for Cartoon Studies Gets a New Home

CCSxmasIt's been a big year for the Center for Cartoon Studies. The nation's only cartoon school, based in White River Junction, kicked off 2011 with the announcement of Vermont's first, official cartoonist laureate, James Kochalka of Burlington.

In August, CCS did battle with Tropical Storm Irene when the White River poured into the building housing the school's Charles Schultz Library (they saved all the books).

This week, CCS announces a very happy culmination to the year: a new building.

Well, a new old building. CCS closed yesterday on its purchase of the historic post office on South Main Street, which was constructed in 1934. The Colonial Revival-style brick structure has also been a Vermont District Court and a private office building.

It's about to become the school's HQ, housing classrooms, much-needed faculty space, and the library. Existing tenants in the upper floor offices will remain and their rent will help to pay the mortgage on CCS' first fully-owned building.

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December 13, 2011

BCA Announces New Winner of Barbara Smail Award

Gregg_blasdelAnd the winner is ... Gregg Blasdel! The Burlington artist and retired St. Michael's art prof is the recipient of the 10th annual Barbara Smail Award, which is granted to a mid-career artist and named for a beloved Vermont painter who died in 2001. It is supported by her friends and family along with Burlington City Arts.

Like the nine recipients before him — this past year it was sculptor Kat Clear — Blasdel will receive $1000 and the use of BCA's facilities for a year. Those include the print and clay studios and darkroom.

In recent years Blasdel has focused on printmaking, often collaborating with his wife and fellow artist Jennifer Koch. A former sculptor, Blasdel is now "exploring new mediums." He'll have several at his disposal at BCA, and I look forward to seeing what he comes up with over this next year.

Blasdel, Koch and fellow artist Sumru Tekin will be coordinating, and working on, the 30/30 Anniversary Print Project, a joint effort of BCA and the Flynn Center on their 30th anniversary year. It will open January 6 at the Amy E. Tarrant Gallery at the Flynn.

Blasdel, who has been involved in the Vermont arts scene since the 1970s, will likely have public visiting hours during his BCA residency, as other Smail recipients have before him. It's a good opportunity to see an artist's creativity in progress, and I recommend stopping by.

Photo of Blasdel courtesy of Burlington City Arts.

December 12, 2011

Burlington Woman Searches For a Painting Missing Since October

Burlington police have apparently recovered music critic Ben Hardy's stolen guitar, a Telecaster signed by the members of Pearl Jam, that once belonged to Hardy's late older brother. Now maybe the cops can find this painting.HelmerVertical

Last October, Sammie Schenker Friedman was helping her mother move from a Burlington condo to an assisted-living facility nearby, when the abstract painting by Robert Helmer (right), which had been in the family for 47 years, disappeared.

"I'm searching for it like a lost puppy," says Friedman, who works at Fletcher Free Library.

An art historian, Friedman worked for years in New York and Los Angeles galleries and once transported a Renoir in her own car. She knows how to handle art in a big move.

"I did a checklist," she says of moving her mother's belongings in October. "I know how to ship a painting, I know how to hang it. I had the approximate space on the wall. It was there, and then it wasn’t."

Friedman prefered not to disclose the name of the assisted-living facility to protect her mother's privacy.

Friedman reported the case to the Burlington Police, but she says they haven't turned up any leads. Now she's working with Burlington's Parallel Justice program.

She just wants her painting back. It's already been through a lot — it even survived Hurricane Katrina.

In August of 2005, Friedman traveled to New Orleans, as she does every year, to visit her parents, who still lived in the house she grew up in. It was her father's 80th birthday.

The night before Katrina touched down, Friedman loaded her parents, a friend, their 80-pound basset hound and a few supplies and valuables into the car. They left everything else behind, including many works of art. "I had nowhere to take them," says Friedman of her parents. "So suddenly, we were in Vermont."

Floodwaters rose to five feet in her parents' neighborhood — three feet in the house. But the artwork made it out unscathed.

Friedman's father, Robert Schenker, was on the faculty of the Tulane School of Architecture with Helmer, the painter whose work went missing last fall. "Over the years, my father both collected his colleague’s works and used them to decorate the houses he built," says Friedman. He acquired the painting in question around 1963.

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November 16, 2011

Flynn Center Artistic Director Arnie Malina to Retire

Arnie MalinaIt's big news when the artistic visionary of the state's largest performing arts center decides to call it a career. According to a press release issued by the Flynn today, Arnie Malina will retire at the end of January 2012.

"He's been there 15 years, 50 percent of the time the Flynn Center for the Performing Arts has existed," said executive director John Killacky by phone shortly after the announcement. "He's planning  next season, and we've written our grants, so a lot is already in play for next year," he added.

Malina spent many years running the Myrna Loy Center for the Performing and Media Arts in Helena, Mont., before arriving at the Flynn in 1997. During his tenure — and that of prior ED Andrea Rogers — a successful capital campaign transformed the Flynn from a "theater" to a "center," renovated and restored the art-deco facility, added the smaller FlynnSpace, and generally raised the profile of the organization.

Malina's passion for popular, experimental and international arts translated to a huge variety of shows coming to Burlington, putting the relatively small city on a much broader cultural map.

Vermonters have benefited, too, from a number of residencies at the Flynn, enabling locals to interact with, study, listen to and watch artists in the act of creation. This kind of connection apparently gives Malina a particular thrill.

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November 15, 2011

From the Village That Brought Us the Men of Maple Corner Nude Calendar: A Happiness Store

Happiness storeEveryone knows you can't buy happiness. Even Ginny Sassaman, the Calais artist and mediator who is opening a happiness store in Maple Corner this weekend.

She acknowledges the irony. Sassaman laughed just like everyone else did when a presenter at last year's Gross National Happiness conference in Burlington showed a cartoon featuring a happiness store — because, duh, it's just not something you can buy.

But it got her to thinking: Why couldn't she open a storefront location where people could gather to learn about Gross National Happiness, the Bhutanese concept that a nation's wellbeing shouldn't be measured by the gross national product but by its citizens' happiness?

And so Sassaman's Happiness Paradigm Store and Experience was born. "A happiness store — bright, fun, open and welcoming — could bring a lot more people into this important debate in a joyful way," says Sassaman.

From an A-frame in tiny Maple Corner — the unincorporated village within Calais that made a name for itself in 2002 when local guys got naked for a calendar, which raised $500,000 to renovate the community center — Sassaman will sell art and crafts made from recycled or repurposed materials, as well as books and other items.

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October 28, 2011

Patrick Dougherty's Sculptures 'Inclined' to Come Down

PatrickDougherty-SoInclined-Mahaney CenterI miss them already. The strange-looking, twisty, teepee-esque sculptures, a grouping of botanical buddies that lean slightly, as if whispering secrets to each other. "So Inclined," the installation in front of the Mahaney Center for the Arts at Middlebury College, is coming down. Talk about planned obsolescence.

Renowned artist Patrick Dougherty created the site-specific sculpture in 2007, with the help of more than 200 local volunteers and from dogwood saplings harvested in Weybridge. The word "temporary" was built in. Today, Dougherty returns to campus for a talk about this, and other projects, at 4:30 p.m. in Room 221 of the Mahaney Center.

If you want to know why Dougherty believes in taking down what he has put up — "So Inclined" is soon to be chipped and recycled as compost — go to his talk and ask him.

Middlebury College is also inviting comments from visitors, and memories from those who helped install the sculpture four years ago, on a blog on the school's website.

Anyone who might find themselves nostalgic for "So Inclined," or wants to find out about more of Dougherty's installations, should pick up his recent monograph, Stickwork. Word has it the artist will be signing copies following his talk today.

Walking through Dougherty's sculptures is transformative, probably in ways unique to each visitor. For me, the spaces he creates feel intimate, contemplative; they manage to recall the magic of a childhood playhouse with a grown-up awareness of the evanescence of life. I've seen only one other work of Dougherty's firsthand, at the Joslyn Art Museum in my hometown of Omaha, Nebr. That one is called "Story-Telling Hut" and presides over the museum's "Discovery Garden. Aptly named.

Note to Patrick: Please return to Vermont to build another stickwork. My yard is available.

October 13, 2011

Shelburne Museum to Build Shiny New Art and Education Center

Center_for_Art_and_Education_at_Shelburne_Museum WEBWhen Electra Havemeyer Webb founded the Shelburne Museum in 1947, she imagined the museum would one day be open year round, according to its board chairman, James Pizzagalli. More than 50 years after her death, her dream is coming true.  

The Shelburne Museum, which has always operated only between mid-May and the end of October, announced today its plans to construct a 16,000-square-foot, LEED-certified art and education center. The contemporary-style structure, which will hold galleries, an auditorium and classroom space, will serve as the museum's flagship building.

The big news? It will allow the museum to operate year round.

Gallery_Center_for_Art_and Education_at Shelburne_Museum"This allows us to fundamentally change the way the Shelburne Museum serves the community," said Thomas Denenberg, who starts November 1 as the museum's new director, at a press conference this morning. The museum's summer schedule has always made it difficult to connect with area school children, who can participate in educational programs only during small windows of time in the spring and fall. 

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October 10, 2011

Mikey Welsh, Painter and Musician, Found Dead

Mikey-welsh-2004  I heard the tragic news yesterday that Mikey Welsh was found dead, at age 40, in a Chicago hotel room. It still feels like a slap in the face. Such a cliché, rock-star way to go. Oh, Mikey, why? It shouldn't have ended this way, or this soon.

Online fan and news sites were abuzz with words like narcotics and overdose. But the toxicology reports apparently take weeks, and at this writing I don't know the actual cause of his death. When I first met and interviewed him, in 2004, the only drugs Mikey took were psychtropic — treatments for bipolar syndrome and post-traumatic stress, he told me. In fact, he said apologetically at our meeting, "I'm afraid you've caught me in the middle of a nervous breakdown."

Another one.

Continue reading "Mikey Welsh, Painter and Musician, Found Dead" »

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