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Visual Arts

Visual Arts


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  string(2439) "Most backyard gardens have some wind chimes or perhaps a weather vane among the homegrown herbs and tomato plants. The Atlanta Botanical Garden re-imagines that notion on an appropriately grand scale with Sculpture in Motion: Art Choreographed By Nature, the new summer exhibit showing May through October.

Guest curator Brigitte Micmacker of San Francisco's Sculpturesite Gallery says kinetic art may be one of the most accessible forms of art. "It appeals to the engineers in us, the part of us that wants to know why things are made a certain way. It appeals to people who like dance and choreography, and also has a musical element, with rhythm and tempo."

Sculpture in Motion features work by 20 artists from around the globe, and is the most extensive survey of outdoor kinetic art ever assembled, according to the Botanical Garden. At the admissions entrance, George Rickey's "Two Lines Oblique" looks like a more delicate, serene version of an industrial windmill. Ralfonso's "Dance With the Wind" features a stack of shiny globes that undulate and occasionally smack into each other like a drunken solar system.

Many pieces resemble oversized, elaborate mobiles and are powered by the breeze, but Micmacker avoided relying solely on wind-driven pieces. "In July and August in Atlanta, wind can be totally absent. What I have to come up with are ideas to have pieces that were not exclusively wind-activated. Even on days when there's no wind, there will be some activity." "Rockspinner6" by Atlanta's Zachary Coffin resembles a massive chunk of cinderblock wall, and is mounted on an axis with such careful balance that a child can spin it around.

"When you're adding the fourth dimension – time, which is what movement is about – you're entering a new layer of challenges," Micmacker says. "You're working with physics, with mechanical engineering, with nature and aesthetics. That all combines to make things more complicated than putting a sculpture up."

Although most of the pieces are outdoors and accessible to the public, they don't require constant upkeep. "We're talking about maintenance every year, or five years. The pieces are all for sale." And any one of them would put your neighbor's roadrunner weather vane to shame.

Sculpture in Motion: Art Choreographed By Nature. May 3-Oct. 31. Atlanta Botanical Garden, 1345 Piedmont Ave. Tues.-Sun., 9 a.m.-7 p.m. $9-$12. 404-876-5859. atlantabotanicalgarden.org."
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Guest curator Brigitte Micmacker of San Francisco's Sculpturesite Gallery says kinetic art may be one of the most accessible forms of art. "It appeals to the engineers in us, the part of us that wants to know why things are made a certain way. It appeals to people who like dance and choreography, and also has a musical element, with rhythm and tempo."

''Sculpture in Motion'' features work by 20 artists from around the globe, and is the most extensive survey of outdoor kinetic art ever assembled, according to the Botanical Garden. At the admissions entrance, George Rickey's "Two Lines Oblique" looks like a more delicate, serene version of an industrial windmill. Ralfonso's "Dance With the Wind" features a stack of shiny globes that undulate and occasionally smack into each other like a drunken solar system.

Many pieces resemble oversized, elaborate mobiles and are powered by the breeze, but Micmacker avoided relying solely on wind-driven pieces. "In July and August in Atlanta, wind can be totally absent. What I have to come up with are ideas to have pieces that were not exclusively wind-activated. Even on days when there's no wind, there will be some activity." "Rockspinner6" by Atlanta's Zachary Coffin resembles a massive chunk of cinderblock wall, and is mounted on an axis with such careful balance that a child can spin it around.

"When you're adding the fourth dimension – time, which is what movement is about – you're entering a new layer of challenges," Micmacker says. "You're working with physics, with mechanical engineering, with nature ''and'' aesthetics. That all combines to make things more complicated than putting a sculpture up."

Although most of the pieces are outdoors and accessible to the public, they don't require constant upkeep. "We're talking about maintenance every year, or five years. The pieces are all for sale." And any one of them would put your neighbor's roadrunner weather vane to shame.

Sculpture in Motion: Art Choreographed By Nature. ''May 3-Oct. 31. Atlanta Botanical Garden, 1345 Piedmont Ave. Tues.-Sun., 9 a.m.-7 p.m. $9-$12. 404-876-5859. [http://atlantabotanicalgarden.org/|atlantabotanicalgarden.org].''"
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  string(2688) "    The Atlanta Botanical Garden gets movin'   2008-04-30T04:04:00+00:00 Sculpture in Motion: Flower power   Curt Holman Curt Holman 2008-04-30T04:04:00+00:00  Most backyard gardens have some wind chimes or perhaps a weather vane among the homegrown herbs and tomato plants. The Atlanta Botanical Garden re-imagines that notion on an appropriately grand scale with Sculpture in Motion: Art Choreographed By Nature, the new summer exhibit showing May through October.

Guest curator Brigitte Micmacker of San Francisco's Sculpturesite Gallery says kinetic art may be one of the most accessible forms of art. "It appeals to the engineers in us, the part of us that wants to know why things are made a certain way. It appeals to people who like dance and choreography, and also has a musical element, with rhythm and tempo."

Sculpture in Motion features work by 20 artists from around the globe, and is the most extensive survey of outdoor kinetic art ever assembled, according to the Botanical Garden. At the admissions entrance, George Rickey's "Two Lines Oblique" looks like a more delicate, serene version of an industrial windmill. Ralfonso's "Dance With the Wind" features a stack of shiny globes that undulate and occasionally smack into each other like a drunken solar system.

Many pieces resemble oversized, elaborate mobiles and are powered by the breeze, but Micmacker avoided relying solely on wind-driven pieces. "In July and August in Atlanta, wind can be totally absent. What I have to come up with are ideas to have pieces that were not exclusively wind-activated. Even on days when there's no wind, there will be some activity." "Rockspinner6" by Atlanta's Zachary Coffin resembles a massive chunk of cinderblock wall, and is mounted on an axis with such careful balance that a child can spin it around.

"When you're adding the fourth dimension – time, which is what movement is about – you're entering a new layer of challenges," Micmacker says. "You're working with physics, with mechanical engineering, with nature and aesthetics. That all combines to make things more complicated than putting a sculpture up."

Although most of the pieces are outdoors and accessible to the public, they don't require constant upkeep. "We're talking about maintenance every year, or five years. The pieces are all for sale." And any one of them would put your neighbor's roadrunner weather vane to shame.

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Article

Wednesday April 30, 2008 12:04 am EDT
The Atlanta Botanical Garden gets movin' | more...
array(79) {
  ["title"]=>
  string(28) "Karim Rashid: Design defined"
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  string(4424) "People who stumble into Karim Rashid: From 15 Minutes into the Future cold, say on their way to the Alliance or the symphony, might mistake it for a high-end showroom. There are sets of sculptural black-and-white dishes and bar stools displayed on mauve pedestals without labels (or, of course, prices) to offer a sense of what exactly is being appraised.

Art fans unfamiliar with designer Karim Rashid's pedigree might imagine that 15 Minutes, with its titular shout-out to Andy Warhol, is an installation and tongue-in-cheek commentary on domesticity or consumer culture. The exhibition space is, after all, peppered with domestic objects such as vacuum cleaners, trash cans, vases, lamps and a chess set rendered in shades of lilac and citrus Lucite. Like a catwalk stalked by a glamorous succession of products, one long Plexiglas box at nose height is filled with a cornucopia of artfully designed stuff including perfume bottles, teapots, CD holders and other mysterious objects one can only guess at and then race home to Google.

The half-Egyptian, half-English, New York-based Rashid has worked in product design, fashion, art and furniture for clients from Prada to Target's Method line of cleansers, and is clearly of the onward-and-upward school of design. (Why indulge in nostalgia or backsliding when we can create a lively, engaging future world centered on smart, beguiling design?) His mod-futurism is founded on bright colors and curvaceous, flirty forms. But Rashid's eye-catching website (www.karimrashid.com) may be a better pitch for his talents and significance than this blandly conceptualized show from former Atlanta-based curator and Art Papers editor Charles Reeve.

The show is heavy on the chairs and light on historical context or, actually, much context at all. I'm the last person to advocate for more wall text, but this exhibition could have used something to indicate year of origin, material, or perhaps a little anecdote or quote from the designer about quirky objects such as his Dirt Devil Kone (2006) vacuum cleaners, the two of them paired up side by side with their pointy tops looking like little minimalist Klansmen. The lack of labels means that silly and ultimately annoying conversations arise between confused viewers about certain objects: "Is it a dough press? A pepper mill? A wine bottle opener?"

Upon first entering the exhibition, a slide show of Rashid's products and site-specific architectural design unfolds in a dark room. But again, without intertitles to indicate where these superfunky graphic subway stations are located or any details about the products shown, the visual information feels random and unfocused.

Design is supposed to be fun. It's accessible, it's often affordable and it's functional. The art world's intimidation factors – price, pedigree, snob value – take a back seat when design steps in. Design is the life of the party: He likes to drink and tell off-color jokes, while art stands in the corner, looking judgmental, nursing a wine spritzer.

And Rashid is clearly a fun guy, too, working his "Jetsons"-meets-global-groovester thing. He loves sugared pastels (lemon, mauve, hot pink, lime), colors that, like the plastics and vinyls they're made from, embrace their factory origins. His biomorphic shapes resemble skinny men pumped up to the size of marshmallows, and his inanimate objects suggest the kineticism and personality of living forms. There are tea pots whose canted shapes make them appear to be leaning into a gale wind. A plastic lady's high heel on display sits melted and mutated like a Popsicle left out in the sun.

Overall, 15 Minutes isn't a very fun show. For one thing, it feels remarkably sparse considering the enormity of Rashid's oeuvre; a mere 50 of the 2,500 objects Rashid has in production are displayed.

The exhibition's other details – beyond the lack of wall labels or rationale for works selected – rankle. For instance, who's the killjoy who left all the lamps unplugged and the clock radio dead? We're in the midst of a drought, not an energy freeze. It's like giving a kid a remote-control car for Christmas and then taking away the remote. For a designer so focused on vibrant, functional design, it seems odd that this most basic demonstration of functionality has been overlooked. It's a small detail, but emblematic of an overall feeling that this entire show has been left unplugged."
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  string(4474) "People who stumble into ''Karim Rashid: From 15 Minutes into the Future'' cold, say on their way to the Alliance or the symphony, might mistake it for a high-end showroom. There are sets of sculptural black-and-white dishes and bar stools displayed on mauve pedestals without labels (or, of course, prices) to offer a sense of what exactly is being appraised.

Art fans unfamiliar with designer Karim Rashid's pedigree might imagine that ''15 Minutes,'' with its titular shout-out to Andy Warhol, is an installation and tongue-in-cheek commentary on domesticity or consumer culture. The exhibition space is, after all, peppered with domestic objects such as vacuum cleaners, trash cans, vases, lamps and a chess set rendered in shades of lilac and citrus Lucite. Like a catwalk stalked by a glamorous succession of products, one long Plexiglas box at nose height is filled with a cornucopia of artfully designed stuff including perfume bottles, teapots, CD holders and other mysterious objects one can only guess at and then race home to Google.

The half-Egyptian, half-English, New York-based Rashid has worked in product design, fashion, art and furniture for clients from Prada to Target's Method line of cleansers, and is clearly of the onward-and-upward school of design. (Why indulge in nostalgia or backsliding when we can create a lively, engaging future world centered on smart, beguiling design?) His mod-futurism is founded on bright colors and curvaceous, flirty forms. But Rashid's eye-catching website ([http://www.karimrashid.com/|www.karimrashid.com]) may be a better pitch for his talents and significance than this blandly conceptualized show from former Atlanta-based curator and ''Art Papers'' editor Charles Reeve.

The show is heavy on the chairs and light on historical context or, actually, much context at all. I'm the last person to advocate for more wall text, but this exhibition could have used ''something'' to indicate year of origin, material, or perhaps a little anecdote or quote from the designer about quirky objects such as his Dirt Devil Kone (2006) vacuum cleaners, the two of them paired up side by side with their pointy tops looking like little minimalist Klansmen. The lack of labels means that silly and ultimately annoying conversations arise between confused viewers about certain objects: "Is it a dough press? A pepper mill? A wine bottle opener?"

Upon first entering the exhibition, a slide show of Rashid's products and site-specific architectural design unfolds in a dark room. But again, without intertitles to indicate where these superfunky graphic subway stations are located or any details about the products shown, the visual information feels random and unfocused.

Design is supposed to be fun. It's accessible, it's often affordable and it's functional. The art world's intimidation factors – price, pedigree, snob value – take a back seat when design steps in. Design is the life of the party: He likes to drink and tell off-color jokes, while art stands in the corner, looking judgmental, nursing a wine spritzer.

And Rashid is clearly a fun guy, too, working his "Jetsons"-meets-global-groovester thing. He loves sugared pastels (lemon, mauve, hot pink, lime), colors that, like the plastics and vinyls they're made from, embrace their factory origins. His biomorphic shapes resemble skinny men pumped up to the size of marshmallows, and his inanimate objects suggest the kineticism and personality of living forms. There are tea pots whose canted shapes make them appear to be leaning into a gale wind. A plastic lady's high heel on display sits melted and mutated like a Popsicle left out in the sun.

Overall, ''15 Minutes'' isn't a very fun show. For one thing, it feels remarkably sparse considering the enormity of Rashid's oeuvre; a mere 50 of the 2,500 objects Rashid has in production are displayed.

The exhibition's other details – beyond the lack of wall labels or rationale for works selected – rankle. For instance, who's the killjoy who left all the lamps unplugged and the clock radio dead? We're in the midst of a drought, not an energy freeze. It's like giving a kid a remote-control car for Christmas and then taking away the remote. For a designer so focused on vibrant, functional design, it seems odd that this most basic demonstration of functionality has been overlooked. It's a small detail, but emblematic of an overall feeling that this entire show has been left unplugged."
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  string(4679) "    The designer's amorphous shapes demand a clearer context   2008-04-02T04:04:00+00:00 Karim Rashid: Design defined   Felicia Feaster 1223506 2008-04-02T04:04:00+00:00  People who stumble into Karim Rashid: From 15 Minutes into the Future cold, say on their way to the Alliance or the symphony, might mistake it for a high-end showroom. There are sets of sculptural black-and-white dishes and bar stools displayed on mauve pedestals without labels (or, of course, prices) to offer a sense of what exactly is being appraised.

Art fans unfamiliar with designer Karim Rashid's pedigree might imagine that 15 Minutes, with its titular shout-out to Andy Warhol, is an installation and tongue-in-cheek commentary on domesticity or consumer culture. The exhibition space is, after all, peppered with domestic objects such as vacuum cleaners, trash cans, vases, lamps and a chess set rendered in shades of lilac and citrus Lucite. Like a catwalk stalked by a glamorous succession of products, one long Plexiglas box at nose height is filled with a cornucopia of artfully designed stuff including perfume bottles, teapots, CD holders and other mysterious objects one can only guess at and then race home to Google.

The half-Egyptian, half-English, New York-based Rashid has worked in product design, fashion, art and furniture for clients from Prada to Target's Method line of cleansers, and is clearly of the onward-and-upward school of design. (Why indulge in nostalgia or backsliding when we can create a lively, engaging future world centered on smart, beguiling design?) His mod-futurism is founded on bright colors and curvaceous, flirty forms. But Rashid's eye-catching website (www.karimrashid.com) may be a better pitch for his talents and significance than this blandly conceptualized show from former Atlanta-based curator and Art Papers editor Charles Reeve.

The show is heavy on the chairs and light on historical context or, actually, much context at all. I'm the last person to advocate for more wall text, but this exhibition could have used something to indicate year of origin, material, or perhaps a little anecdote or quote from the designer about quirky objects such as his Dirt Devil Kone (2006) vacuum cleaners, the two of them paired up side by side with their pointy tops looking like little minimalist Klansmen. The lack of labels means that silly and ultimately annoying conversations arise between confused viewers about certain objects: "Is it a dough press? A pepper mill? A wine bottle opener?"

Upon first entering the exhibition, a slide show of Rashid's products and site-specific architectural design unfolds in a dark room. But again, without intertitles to indicate where these superfunky graphic subway stations are located or any details about the products shown, the visual information feels random and unfocused.

Design is supposed to be fun. It's accessible, it's often affordable and it's functional. The art world's intimidation factors – price, pedigree, snob value – take a back seat when design steps in. Design is the life of the party: He likes to drink and tell off-color jokes, while art stands in the corner, looking judgmental, nursing a wine spritzer.

And Rashid is clearly a fun guy, too, working his "Jetsons"-meets-global-groovester thing. He loves sugared pastels (lemon, mauve, hot pink, lime), colors that, like the plastics and vinyls they're made from, embrace their factory origins. His biomorphic shapes resemble skinny men pumped up to the size of marshmallows, and his inanimate objects suggest the kineticism and personality of living forms. There are tea pots whose canted shapes make them appear to be leaning into a gale wind. A plastic lady's high heel on display sits melted and mutated like a Popsicle left out in the sun.

Overall, 15 Minutes isn't a very fun show. For one thing, it feels remarkably sparse considering the enormity of Rashid's oeuvre; a mere 50 of the 2,500 objects Rashid has in production are displayed.

The exhibition's other details – beyond the lack of wall labels or rationale for works selected – rankle. For instance, who's the killjoy who left all the lamps unplugged and the clock radio dead? We're in the midst of a drought, not an energy freeze. It's like giving a kid a remote-control car for Christmas and then taking away the remote. For a designer so focused on vibrant, functional design, it seems odd that this most basic demonstration of functionality has been overlooked. It's a small detail, but emblematic of an overall feeling that this entire show has been left unplugged.             13027003 1272779                          Karim Rashid: Design defined "
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Wednesday April 2, 2008 12:04 am EDT
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  string(6710) "Photographer and filmmaker Bill Daniel followed the American urge for freedom among train jumpers in his 2005 experimental documentary Who is Bozo Texino? In the multimedia exhibition Sunset Scavenger, opening March 28, at Castleberry Hill's Get This! Gallery, Daniel documents a subculture of hippie boaters.

Sunset Scavenger is about people who have dropped off the grid and out of the mainstream. Can you describe the project?

Sunset Scavenger is really a series of projects: photography, film and video, sculpture, boat building, custom vanning. My working method seems to be that I become absorbed by ideas about different ways of living, different ways of defining economy and domesticity, survival. Then I try to work from within that scene. It's inspired by people who are improvising, like veggie-oil diesel runners. The show at Get This! will be a combination of black-and-white photography and collected ephemera, a big collage about people living in vehicles and boats, living on the low-down in the face of desertification and floods – you know, life on an angry planet.

There is a whole movement of punk-rock types who take to boats the way others take to railroad cars. Are we entering a new phase of low-budget adventurism?

My thesis is that the real avant-garde is these punks, anarchists, radical environmentalists and hippies, although those terms do a poor job of describing people these days. Our culture is not being led by thinkers and artists at the high end of the spectrum. Some of the most meaningful innovation is going to come from poor people.

You see contemporary "counterculture" embracing the essence of the American character: self-reliance, independence, a love of the American landscape, whether it's from a freight rolling through the Rockies or a raft floating down the Mississippi.

Bozo Texino and many of your photos are in black and white. Are you generally drawn to an old-fashioned aesthetic?

It has something to do with issues of nostalgia – aesthetically and technically. I want to make work that is in dialogue with the history of documentary photography as well as with social history. Black and white allows the work to blend easily with the past and itself, to be seen maybe as not so time-specific. I'm not trying to make things out of historical context, but I want the viewer to easily drift away to the past or future.

Is freedom becoming hard to find in America?

Everyone knows that's true. Come on. The crucial question we face as Americans is how we have allowed our freedoms to be stolen by so-called freedom-loving conservatives. These flag-waving Republicans have led the assault on our liberties (not like the Dems are much better, but it is the Left that today actually stands for individual liberty; let's all admit that right now). And so how are we going to win our freedoms back? Well, for one, we need a political revolution, and on the other hand we need individual revolutions. Each citizen must get off his/her ass and speak up and live like it matters. The issue of freedom in America is a major subtext to most of my art.

Is there a sub-subculture of artists within the subculture of train jumping and hippie boating?

The subculture of "hoboing" has always been evolving and that evolution has always had a two-way influence with pop culture – literature, film, music, oral culture. So it's never been a "pure" culture, no such thing. The big change with the birth of the punk/crustie freight-rider culture is actually in perfect harmony with the history of hoboing. The raft punk thing is a natural next. 

Get This! Gallery recently had a show with another photographer, Mike Brodie, who has documented contemporary train jumpers. Have your paths crossed riding the rails?

You bet. I know and love Brodie and his photography. We did a wild photo show together in Pensacola last year that ended up around a campfire all night on the beach with people naked, playing fiddles, drinking Sparks and swimming. There is a remarkable kind of interconnectedness among this tribe and its sister tribes. It's a big North America, but a relatively small family of freaks. And I mean freaks in the most respected way. Among them are the artists I admire the most.

How does your work fit into the Mission School New Folk lowbrow movement?

I was living and working in the Mission from 1988 through 2001, and corny as it sounds, there was a zeitgeist at work in that half-square mile. There were lots of different miniscenes – film, painting, murals, music, all of it – involved in some way with activism. I think due to the smallness of the community there was a shared set of values, political and optimistic. I think something that my work had in common with what was going on was that it was all based on a peer-to-peer scene. We were working for each other, not for curators or the market. That's my feeling about it. Graffiti was a big part of it. Graffiti is a common space that everyone lives within.

You made your film Who is Bozo Texino? as an experimental film when straight documentary often seems the rage. Tell me why you took that approach, and also about shooting it using Super 8 and a 16 mm Bolex.__

The hobo graffiti film was the result of a tragically huge labor of love. I just fell completely in love with traditional boxcar graffiti from the moment I first saw it in 1983. I believe in the power and value of graffiti, all kinds. What I wanted to do in this film was make a connection between a folk art practiced for 100 years by anonymous oldsters and kids today. I see the two cultures of hoboing and graffiti as equivalents, and I hope the film manages to demonstrate that.

The film focuses on the old style, but the cross-generational kinship and continuity with street culture today is striking. Jack Kerouac, Robert Frank, Helen Levitt, Danny Lyons all set the stage for me for a way of looking at American life. I suppose my work does lean toward the experimental; however, I'm also rooted in social documentary. I love both kinds of work, but I only have one life so I guess I've got to do both at the same time.

What are you working on now? You have a book on hobo graffiti coming out?

Yep, a follow-up book to the hobo movie will be out in May. It's called Mostly True. I'm still heavily working on the Sunset Scavenger project. I'll be touring with that a bunch in the next year or two.

Sunset Scavengers. Through April 19. Artist talk Fri., March 28, 6:30-7 p.m. Get This! Gallery, 322 Peters St. Thurs.-Sat., noon-5 p.m. 678-596-4451. www.getthisgallery.com.

Who is Bozo Texino? screening. Free. Thurs., March 27. 8:30 p.m. Lenny's Bar, 486 Decatur St. 404-577-7721. www.lennysbar.com."
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__''Sunset Scavenger''__ __is about people who have dropped off the grid and out of the mainstream. Can you describe the project?__

''Sunset Scavenger'' is really a series of projects: photography, film and video, sculpture, boat building, custom vanning. My working method seems to be that I become absorbed by ideas about different ways of living, different ways of defining economy and domesticity, survival. Then I try to work from within that scene. It's inspired by people who are improvising, like veggie-oil diesel runners. The show at Get This! will be a combination of black-and-white photography and collected ephemera, a big collage about people living in vehicles and boats, living on the low-down in the face of desertification and floods – you know, life on an angry planet.

__There is a whole movement of punk-rock types who take to boats the way others take to railroad cars. Are we entering a new phase of low-budget adventurism?__

My thesis is that the real avant-garde is these punks, anarchists, radical environmentalists and hippies, although those terms do a poor job of describing people these days. Our culture is not being led by thinkers and artists at the high end of the spectrum. Some of the most meaningful innovation is going to come from poor people.

You see contemporary "counterculture" embracing the essence of the American character: self-reliance, independence, a love of the American landscape, whether it's from a freight rolling through the Rockies or a raft floating down the Mississippi.

__''Bozo Texino''__ __and many of your photos are in black and white. Are you generally drawn to an old-fashioned aesthetic?__

It has something to do with issues of nostalgia – aesthetically and technically. I want to make work that is in dialogue with the history of documentary photography as well as with social history. Black and white allows the work to blend easily with the past and itself, to be seen maybe as not so time-specific. I'm not trying to make things out of historical context, but I want the viewer to easily drift away to the past or future.

__Is freedom becoming hard to find in America?__

Everyone knows that's true. Come on. The crucial question we face as Americans is how we have allowed our freedoms to be stolen by so-called freedom-loving conservatives. These flag-waving Republicans have led the assault on our liberties (not like the Dems are much better, but it is the Left that today actually stands for individual liberty; let's all admit that right now). And so how are we going to win our freedoms back? Well, for one, we need a political revolution, and on the other hand we need individual revolutions. Each citizen must get off his/her ass and speak up and live like it matters. The issue of freedom in America is a major subtext to most of my art.

__Is there a sub-subculture of artists within the subculture of train jumping and hippie boating?__

The subculture of "hoboing" has always been evolving and that evolution has always had a two-way influence with pop culture – literature, film, music, oral culture. So it's never been a "pure" culture, no such thing. The big change with the birth of the punk/crustie freight-rider culture is actually in perfect harmony with the history of hoboing. The raft punk thing is a natural next. 

__Get This! Gallery recently had a show with another photographer, Mike Brodie, who has documented contemporary train jumpers. Have your paths crossed riding the rails?__

You bet. I know and love Brodie and his photography. We did a wild photo show together in Pensacola last year that ended up around a campfire all night on the beach with people naked, playing fiddles, drinking Sparks and swimming. There is a remarkable kind of interconnectedness among this tribe and its sister tribes. It's a big North America, but a relatively small family of freaks. And I mean freaks in the most respected way. Among them are the artists I admire the most.

__How does your work fit into the Mission School New Folk lowbrow movement?__

I was living and working in the Mission from 1988 through 2001, and corny as it sounds, there was a zeitgeist at work in that half-square mile. There were lots of different miniscenes – film, painting, murals, music, all of it – involved in some way with activism. I think due to the smallness of the community there was a shared set of values, political and optimistic. I think something that my work had in common with what was going on was that it was all based on a peer-to-peer scene. We were working for each other, not for curators or the market. That's my feeling about it. Graffiti was a big part of it. Graffiti is a common space that everyone lives within.

__You made your film [__''Who is Bozo Texino?''] __as an experimental film when straight documentary often seems the rage. Tell me why you took that approach, and also about shooting it using Super 8 and a 16 mm Bolex.__

The hobo graffiti film was the result of a tragically huge labor of love. I just fell completely in love with traditional boxcar graffiti from the moment I first saw it in 1983. I believe in the power and value of graffiti, all kinds. What I wanted to do in this film was make a connection between a folk art practiced for 100 years by anonymous oldsters and kids today. I see the two cultures of hoboing and graffiti as equivalents, and I hope the film manages to demonstrate that.

The film focuses on the old style, but the cross-generational kinship and continuity with street culture today is striking. Jack Kerouac, Robert Frank, Helen Levitt, Danny Lyons all set the stage for me for a way of looking at American life. I suppose my work does lean toward the experimental; however, I'm also rooted in social documentary. I love both kinds of work, but I only have one life so I guess I've got to do both at the same time.

__What are you working on now? You have a book on hobo graffiti coming out?__

Yep, a follow-up book to the hobo movie will be out in May. It's called ''Mostly True''. I'm still heavily working on the ''Sunset Scavenger'' project. I'll be touring with that a bunch in the next year or two.

Sunset Scavengers. ''Through April 19. Artist talk Fri., March 28, 6:30-7 p.m. Get This! Gallery, 322 Peters St. Thurs.-Sat., noon-5 p.m. 678-596-4451. [http://www.getthisgallery.com/|www.getthisgallery.com].''

Who is Bozo Texino? ''screening. Free. Thurs., March 27. 8:30 p.m. Lenny's Bar, 486 Decatur St. 404-577-7721. [http://www.lennysbar.com/|www.lennysbar.com].''"
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Sunset Scavenger is about people who have dropped off the grid and out of the mainstream. Can you describe the project?

Sunset Scavenger is really a series of projects: photography, film and video, sculpture, boat building, custom vanning. My working method seems to be that I become absorbed by ideas about different ways of living, different ways of defining economy and domesticity, survival. Then I try to work from within that scene. It's inspired by people who are improvising, like veggie-oil diesel runners. The show at Get This! will be a combination of black-and-white photography and collected ephemera, a big collage about people living in vehicles and boats, living on the low-down in the face of desertification and floods – you know, life on an angry planet.

There is a whole movement of punk-rock types who take to boats the way others take to railroad cars. Are we entering a new phase of low-budget adventurism?

My thesis is that the real avant-garde is these punks, anarchists, radical environmentalists and hippies, although those terms do a poor job of describing people these days. Our culture is not being led by thinkers and artists at the high end of the spectrum. Some of the most meaningful innovation is going to come from poor people.

You see contemporary "counterculture" embracing the essence of the American character: self-reliance, independence, a love of the American landscape, whether it's from a freight rolling through the Rockies or a raft floating down the Mississippi.

Bozo Texino and many of your photos are in black and white. Are you generally drawn to an old-fashioned aesthetic?

It has something to do with issues of nostalgia – aesthetically and technically. I want to make work that is in dialogue with the history of documentary photography as well as with social history. Black and white allows the work to blend easily with the past and itself, to be seen maybe as not so time-specific. I'm not trying to make things out of historical context, but I want the viewer to easily drift away to the past or future.

Is freedom becoming hard to find in America?

Everyone knows that's true. Come on. The crucial question we face as Americans is how we have allowed our freedoms to be stolen by so-called freedom-loving conservatives. These flag-waving Republicans have led the assault on our liberties (not like the Dems are much better, but it is the Left that today actually stands for individual liberty; let's all admit that right now). And so how are we going to win our freedoms back? Well, for one, we need a political revolution, and on the other hand we need individual revolutions. Each citizen must get off his/her ass and speak up and live like it matters. The issue of freedom in America is a major subtext to most of my art.

Is there a sub-subculture of artists within the subculture of train jumping and hippie boating?

The subculture of "hoboing" has always been evolving and that evolution has always had a two-way influence with pop culture – literature, film, music, oral culture. So it's never been a "pure" culture, no such thing. The big change with the birth of the punk/crustie freight-rider culture is actually in perfect harmony with the history of hoboing. The raft punk thing is a natural next. 

Get This! Gallery recently had a show with another photographer, Mike Brodie, who has documented contemporary train jumpers. Have your paths crossed riding the rails?

You bet. I know and love Brodie and his photography. We did a wild photo show together in Pensacola last year that ended up around a campfire all night on the beach with people naked, playing fiddles, drinking Sparks and swimming. There is a remarkable kind of interconnectedness among this tribe and its sister tribes. It's a big North America, but a relatively small family of freaks. And I mean freaks in the most respected way. Among them are the artists I admire the most.

How does your work fit into the Mission School New Folk lowbrow movement?

I was living and working in the Mission from 1988 through 2001, and corny as it sounds, there was a zeitgeist at work in that half-square mile. There were lots of different miniscenes – film, painting, murals, music, all of it – involved in some way with activism. I think due to the smallness of the community there was a shared set of values, political and optimistic. I think something that my work had in common with what was going on was that it was all based on a peer-to-peer scene. We were working for each other, not for curators or the market. That's my feeling about it. Graffiti was a big part of it. Graffiti is a common space that everyone lives within.

You made your film Who is Bozo Texino? as an experimental film when straight documentary often seems the rage. Tell me why you took that approach, and also about shooting it using Super 8 and a 16 mm Bolex.__

The hobo graffiti film was the result of a tragically huge labor of love. I just fell completely in love with traditional boxcar graffiti from the moment I first saw it in 1983. I believe in the power and value of graffiti, all kinds. What I wanted to do in this film was make a connection between a folk art practiced for 100 years by anonymous oldsters and kids today. I see the two cultures of hoboing and graffiti as equivalents, and I hope the film manages to demonstrate that.

The film focuses on the old style, but the cross-generational kinship and continuity with street culture today is striking. Jack Kerouac, Robert Frank, Helen Levitt, Danny Lyons all set the stage for me for a way of looking at American life. I suppose my work does lean toward the experimental; however, I'm also rooted in social documentary. I love both kinds of work, but I only have one life so I guess I've got to do both at the same time.

What are you working on now? You have a book on hobo graffiti coming out?

Yep, a follow-up book to the hobo movie will be out in May. It's called Mostly True. I'm still heavily working on the Sunset Scavenger project. I'll be touring with that a bunch in the next year or two.

Sunset Scavengers. Through April 19. Artist talk Fri., March 28, 6:30-7 p.m. Get This! Gallery, 322 Peters St. Thurs.-Sat., noon-5 p.m. 678-596-4451. www.getthisgallery.com.

Who is Bozo Texino? screening. Free. Thurs., March 27. 8:30 p.m. Lenny's Bar, 486 Decatur St. 404-577-7721. www.lennysbar.com.             13026933 1272638                          Bill Daniel: Off the grid "
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Article

Wednesday March 26, 2008 12:04 am EDT

Photographer and filmmaker Bill Daniel followed the American urge for freedom among train jumpers in his 2005 experimental documentary Who is Bozo Texino? In the multimedia exhibition Sunset Scavenger, opening March 28, at Castleberry Hill's Get This! Gallery, Daniel documents a subculture of hippie boaters.

Sunset Scavenger is about people who have dropped off the grid and out of the...

| more...

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  string(5038) "In the late 1980s, Sally Mann endured a stint as one of America's most notorious photographers for her body of work Immediate Family. That work centered on Mann's gorgeous, often au naturel trio of children – Emmett, Jessie and Virginia – captured cavorting on Mann's ancestral Virginia land. The images provoked the ire of America's self-appointed moralists and threatened to drown Mann's work in controversy. As has often been the case, what Americans were happy to accept in entertainment – sex and death – they became prudish, tiresome and prim about in art.

It is therefore a useful exercise for those interested in separating out Mann's work from the attendant fog of scandal to also consider Mann's 1988 book, At Twelve: Portraits of Young Women (Aperture), which illuminates so many of her themes to come.

At Twelve cemented Mann's interest in the fleeting magic of childhood and the sensuality of children spiritually linked to the natural world. In these heartfelt black-and-white photographs, currently on view at Jackson Fine Art, Mann documents a variety of young girls in her Lexington, Va., hometown – black and white, rich and poor, poised and vulnerable. They can look like little girls, still clutching baby dolls, and precocious sirens occasionally aware of their beguiling properties. The photographs feature haughty cowgirl princesses wearing monogrammed shirts and chubby living baby dolls who are fussed and fretted over by their hovering mamas.

The photographs are often blatantly sexual, for honing in on the girls' bodies. But they also register their complicated interior states. The traces of doubt, confidence, vanity, insecurity, pride and anxiety on their faces complicate any simple reduction of their beings to sex.

If anything, looking at the images some 20 years later proves that when it comes to girls and sex, we still don't have a clue.

Mann's documentation of girls on the cusp of womanhood might not rate a quickened pulse amid the fire crotches and sex tapes of today. But they still challenge our cultural standard of drawing a definitive line between innocent girl and sexually aware woman. Mann's images assert that such lines separating human sexuality from human experience are artificial.

What the young girls in At Twelve and Mann's own children in Immediate Family suggest is a mix of innocence and awareness about the effect they want to produce. They are Mann's collaborators and, occasionally, provocateurs. As a woman, Mann clearly identifies with them, even as her impulse as a photographer is to turn up the volume on certain sexual and symbolic markers: wedding veils and bridges, phallic soda bottles and blood stains. But it's the quality of knowingness that turns the images electric, that transforms them from ordinary portraits into hothouse, sensual, idiosyncratic portals to the sentience beneath the skin.

That knowingness separates the 12-year-old girls in Mann's images from the blank, empty vessels captured by Jock Sturges, a photographer also notorious for his sexually charged portraits of the young and beautiful. Sturges treats his nymphs like statuary, while Mann clearly identifies with her subjects. She is a watchful mother, recording the awkward, devastating, sorrowful transition from child to woman. But she is also a grown woman looking back and respecting the same precipice she once walked.

That knowingness can be devastating, too. In one photo, a girl poses looking tough and sure of herself with a baby-faced, fully grown man. There is an uncomfortable sexual dynamic between them. Mann noted in the book At Twelve that the man was eventually shot in the face by the girl's mother for "harassing" her daughter. So Mann has also captured the scene of a crime, and the painful reality that even what we can mistake for sexual bravado or provocation could all be a put-on.

At Twelve is shown side by side with Mann's more recent portraits using the antiquated 19th-century collodion process, of her three nearly grown children.

The collodion process emphasizes imperfections, scratches, blurs and happy accidents so the images themselves take on a time-weathered look. Rather than focusing on her children's bodies within a verdant, living landscape, these images privilege their faces honed in on to an almost uncomfortable degree, as if studied under a microscope. Jessie, Emmett and Virginia pose with eyes open or closed and their faces become vast, moody landscapes. The images most immediately resemble postmortem photos. And the flickers and flares, streaks and scratches become metaphors for death and decay. Just as the At Twelve images anticipate adulthood, the What Remains images anticipate the grave.

Seen in conjunction with What Remains, the young girls in At Twelve represent a death of sorts, even as they bloom and unfold with magnificent life. Because with change, Mann asserts, comes death. It is the death of the child within them, pushed aside so the woman can emerge.

For more images by Sally Mann, click here."
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It is therefore a useful exercise for those interested in separating out Mann's work from the attendant fog of scandal to also consider Mann's 1988 book, ''At Twelve: Portraits of Young Women'' (Aperture), which illuminates so many of her themes to come.

''At Twelve'' cemented Mann's interest in the fleeting magic of childhood and the sensuality of children spiritually linked to the natural world. In these heartfelt black-and-white photographs, currently on view at Jackson Fine Art, Mann documents a variety of young girls in her Lexington, Va., hometown – black and white, rich and poor, poised and vulnerable. They can look like little girls, still clutching baby dolls, and precocious sirens occasionally aware of their beguiling properties. The photographs feature haughty cowgirl princesses wearing monogrammed shirts and chubby living baby dolls who are fussed and fretted over by their hovering mamas.

The photographs are often blatantly sexual, for honing in on the girls' bodies. But they also register their complicated interior states. The traces of doubt, confidence, vanity, insecurity, pride and anxiety on their faces complicate any simple reduction of their beings to sex.

If anything, looking at the images some 20 years later proves that when it comes to girls and sex, we still don't have a clue.

Mann's documentation of girls on the cusp of womanhood might not rate a quickened pulse amid the fire crotches and sex tapes of today. But they still challenge our cultural standard of drawing a definitive line between innocent girl and sexually aware woman. Mann's images assert that such lines separating human sexuality from human experience are artificial.

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That knowingness separates the 12-year-old girls in Mann's images from the blank, empty vessels captured by Jock Sturges, a photographer also notorious for his sexually charged portraits of the young and beautiful. Sturges treats his nymphs like statuary, while Mann clearly identifies with her subjects. She is a watchful mother, recording the awkward, devastating, sorrowful transition from child to woman. But she is also a grown woman looking back and respecting the same precipice she once walked.

That knowingness can be devastating, too. In one photo, a girl poses looking tough and sure of herself with a baby-faced, fully grown man. There is an uncomfortable sexual dynamic between them. Mann noted in the book ''At Twelve'' that the man was eventually shot in the face by the girl's mother for "harassing" her daughter. So Mann has also captured the scene of a crime, and the painful reality that even what we can mistake for sexual bravado or provocation could all be a put-on.

''At Twelve'' is shown side by side with Mann's more recent portraits using the antiquated 19th-century collodion process, of her three nearly grown children.

The collodion process emphasizes imperfections, scratches, blurs and happy accidents so the images themselves take on a time-weathered look. Rather than focusing on her children's bodies within a verdant, living landscape, these images privilege their faces honed in on to an almost uncomfortable degree, as if studied under a microscope. Jessie, Emmett and Virginia pose with eyes open or closed and their faces become vast, moody landscapes. The images most immediately resemble postmortem photos. And the flickers and flares, streaks and scratches become metaphors for death and decay. Just as the ''At Twelve'' images anticipate adulthood, the ''What Remains'' images anticipate the grave.

Seen in conjunction with ''What Remains'', the young girls in ''At Twelve'' represent a death of sorts, even as they bloom and unfold with magnificent life. Because with change, Mann asserts, comes death. It is the death of the child within them, pushed aside so the woman can emerge.

''For more images by Sally Mann, click here.''"
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It is therefore a useful exercise for those interested in separating out Mann's work from the attendant fog of scandal to also consider Mann's 1988 book, At Twelve: Portraits of Young Women (Aperture), which illuminates so many of her themes to come.

At Twelve cemented Mann's interest in the fleeting magic of childhood and the sensuality of children spiritually linked to the natural world. In these heartfelt black-and-white photographs, currently on view at Jackson Fine Art, Mann documents a variety of young girls in her Lexington, Va., hometown – black and white, rich and poor, poised and vulnerable. They can look like little girls, still clutching baby dolls, and precocious sirens occasionally aware of their beguiling properties. The photographs feature haughty cowgirl princesses wearing monogrammed shirts and chubby living baby dolls who are fussed and fretted over by their hovering mamas.

The photographs are often blatantly sexual, for honing in on the girls' bodies. But they also register their complicated interior states. The traces of doubt, confidence, vanity, insecurity, pride and anxiety on their faces complicate any simple reduction of their beings to sex.

If anything, looking at the images some 20 years later proves that when it comes to girls and sex, we still don't have a clue.

Mann's documentation of girls on the cusp of womanhood might not rate a quickened pulse amid the fire crotches and sex tapes of today. But they still challenge our cultural standard of drawing a definitive line between innocent girl and sexually aware woman. Mann's images assert that such lines separating human sexuality from human experience are artificial.

What the young girls in At Twelve and Mann's own children in Immediate Family suggest is a mix of innocence and awareness about the effect they want to produce. They are Mann's collaborators and, occasionally, provocateurs. As a woman, Mann clearly identifies with them, even as her impulse as a photographer is to turn up the volume on certain sexual and symbolic markers: wedding veils and bridges, phallic soda bottles and blood stains. But it's the quality of knowingness that turns the images electric, that transforms them from ordinary portraits into hothouse, sensual, idiosyncratic portals to the sentience beneath the skin.

That knowingness separates the 12-year-old girls in Mann's images from the blank, empty vessels captured by Jock Sturges, a photographer also notorious for his sexually charged portraits of the young and beautiful. Sturges treats his nymphs like statuary, while Mann clearly identifies with her subjects. She is a watchful mother, recording the awkward, devastating, sorrowful transition from child to woman. But she is also a grown woman looking back and respecting the same precipice she once walked.

That knowingness can be devastating, too. In one photo, a girl poses looking tough and sure of herself with a baby-faced, fully grown man. There is an uncomfortable sexual dynamic between them. Mann noted in the book At Twelve that the man was eventually shot in the face by the girl's mother for "harassing" her daughter. So Mann has also captured the scene of a crime, and the painful reality that even what we can mistake for sexual bravado or provocation could all be a put-on.

At Twelve is shown side by side with Mann's more recent portraits using the antiquated 19th-century collodion process, of her three nearly grown children.

The collodion process emphasizes imperfections, scratches, blurs and happy accidents so the images themselves take on a time-weathered look. Rather than focusing on her children's bodies within a verdant, living landscape, these images privilege their faces honed in on to an almost uncomfortable degree, as if studied under a microscope. Jessie, Emmett and Virginia pose with eyes open or closed and their faces become vast, moody landscapes. The images most immediately resemble postmortem photos. And the flickers and flares, streaks and scratches become metaphors for death and decay. Just as the At Twelve images anticipate adulthood, the What Remains images anticipate the grave.

Seen in conjunction with What Remains, the young girls in At Twelve represent a death of sorts, even as they bloom and unfold with magnificent life. Because with change, Mann asserts, comes death. It is the death of the child within them, pushed aside so the woman can emerge.

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Wednesday March 19, 2008 12:04 am EDT
Images offer a sense of a woman, at Jackson Fine Art | more...
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  string(2788) "Who hasn't at some point fallen sway to glitter's charms?

Like felt and paste, construction paper and pipe cleaners, glitter is a central player in childhood's stage craft. It is happiness and excitement in gritty, defiantly clinging form.

That crafty, girly, upbeat material assumes many guises in the Swan Coach House Gallery show All That Glitters: The Sparkling Works of Nine Southern Artists. For some of the artists, glitter is a yummy filling, but for others it's the whole jelly doughnut. In the latter camp is Joni Mabe's obsessively glitter-encrusted portrait of "P.T. Barnum." The wow-factor portrait gives props to the notoriously gilded American showman who did his part to make hucksterism and razzle dazzle part of the national character. Portraits of Elvis and blues singer Robert Johnson feature personalities less glitter-relevant and fall back on glitter's ability to simply dress up and sparkle-ize some pedestrian pop-culture shout-outs.

The highlight of the show may be longtime Atlanta artist Jim Waters' glittery crosses, just in time for Easter. Waters is no glitter Johnny-come-lately; he's been working with the stuff for years now, using glitter to lend a showbiz flair to his declarative "Pow! Smash! Kerbam!" shapes. Revved up with decorative, ornate shapes, his godly-by-way-of-Vegas crosses are like flames on a vintage car: souped-up and campy, probably more suited to Liberace than J.C.

Despite the intriguing incorporation of glitter into his recent post-mod collages, Eric Mack's work on view at Swan Coach House isn't up to his usual high standards. Amalia Amaki's button- and bauble-encrusted candy and jewelry boxes also feel a little old hat amid examples of glitter's neo-applications.

Probably the best illustration of how glitter (and craft) have gone high art is Claire Joyce, who just jumped ship from Atlanta for California, leaving a trail of glitter behind her. The two works on display here, featuring birthday cake and unicorns, push all the kitsch buttons – though they have far less impact than her autobiographical, detail-crazed glitter epics.

One of Atlanta's most prominent glitter advocates, Sarah Emerson, illustrates how contemporary artists evoke childhood, femininity and create a dreamy, retro sensibility by sprinkling the stuff into tragio-romantic woodland scenes. Her spare but eye-grabbing, femmed-up portrait of a buck, called "Beast," feels like a tickle from a feather duster, a nicely ethereal accompaniment to Judy Parady's wonderful translations of glitter into dreamy solar systems.

All That Glitters: The Sparkling Works of Nine Southern Artists. Through April 26. Swan Coach House Gallery, 3130 Slaton Drive. Tues.-Sat., 10 a.m.-4 p.m. 404-266-2636. www.swancoachhouse.com.

For more images, click here."
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  string(2833) "Who hasn't at some point fallen sway to glitter's charms?

Like felt and paste, construction paper and pipe cleaners, glitter is a central player in childhood's stage craft. It is happiness and excitement in gritty, defiantly clinging form.

That crafty, girly, upbeat material assumes many guises in the Swan Coach House Gallery show ''All That Glitters: The Sparkling Works of Nine Southern Artists''. For some of the artists, glitter is a yummy filling, but for others it's the whole jelly doughnut. In the latter camp is Joni Mabe's obsessively glitter-encrusted portrait of "P.T. Barnum." The wow-factor portrait gives props to the notoriously gilded American showman who did his part to make hucksterism and razzle dazzle part of the national character. Portraits of Elvis and blues singer Robert Johnson feature personalities less glitter-relevant and fall back on glitter's ability to simply dress up and sparkle-ize some pedestrian pop-culture shout-outs.

The highlight of the show may be longtime Atlanta artist Jim Waters' glittery crosses, just in time for Easter. Waters is no glitter Johnny-come-lately; he's been working with the stuff for years now, using glitter to lend a showbiz flair to his declarative "Pow! Smash! Kerbam!" shapes. Revved up with decorative, ornate shapes, his godly-by-way-of-Vegas crosses are like flames on a vintage car: souped-up and campy, probably more suited to Liberace than J.C.

Despite the intriguing incorporation of glitter into his recent post-mod collages, Eric Mack's work on view at Swan Coach House isn't up to his usual high standards. Amalia Amaki's button- and bauble-encrusted candy and jewelry boxes also feel a little old hat amid examples of glitter's neo-applications.

Probably the best illustration of how glitter (and craft) have gone high art is Claire Joyce, who just jumped ship from Atlanta for California, leaving a trail of glitter behind her. The two works on display here, featuring birthday cake and unicorns, push all the kitsch buttons – though they have far less impact than her autobiographical, detail-crazed glitter epics.

One of Atlanta's most prominent glitter advocates, Sarah Emerson, illustrates how contemporary artists evoke childhood, femininity and create a dreamy, retro sensibility by sprinkling the stuff into tragio-romantic woodland scenes. Her spare but eye-grabbing, femmed-up portrait of a buck, called "Beast," feels like a tickle from a feather duster, a nicely ethereal accompaniment to Judy Parady's wonderful translations of glitter into dreamy solar systems.

All That Glitters: The Sparkling Works of Nine Southern Artists. ''Through April 26. Swan Coach House Gallery, 3130 Slaton Drive. Tues.-Sat., 10 a.m.-4 p.m. 404-266-2636. [http://www.swancoachhouse.com/|www.swancoachhouse.com].''

''For more images, click here.''"
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  string(3020) "    Swan Coach House glams up   2008-03-19T04:04:00+00:00 All That Glitters: Razzle dazzle   Felicia Feaster 1223506 2008-03-19T04:04:00+00:00  Who hasn't at some point fallen sway to glitter's charms?

Like felt and paste, construction paper and pipe cleaners, glitter is a central player in childhood's stage craft. It is happiness and excitement in gritty, defiantly clinging form.

That crafty, girly, upbeat material assumes many guises in the Swan Coach House Gallery show All That Glitters: The Sparkling Works of Nine Southern Artists. For some of the artists, glitter is a yummy filling, but for others it's the whole jelly doughnut. In the latter camp is Joni Mabe's obsessively glitter-encrusted portrait of "P.T. Barnum." The wow-factor portrait gives props to the notoriously gilded American showman who did his part to make hucksterism and razzle dazzle part of the national character. Portraits of Elvis and blues singer Robert Johnson feature personalities less glitter-relevant and fall back on glitter's ability to simply dress up and sparkle-ize some pedestrian pop-culture shout-outs.

The highlight of the show may be longtime Atlanta artist Jim Waters' glittery crosses, just in time for Easter. Waters is no glitter Johnny-come-lately; he's been working with the stuff for years now, using glitter to lend a showbiz flair to his declarative "Pow! Smash! Kerbam!" shapes. Revved up with decorative, ornate shapes, his godly-by-way-of-Vegas crosses are like flames on a vintage car: souped-up and campy, probably more suited to Liberace than J.C.

Despite the intriguing incorporation of glitter into his recent post-mod collages, Eric Mack's work on view at Swan Coach House isn't up to his usual high standards. Amalia Amaki's button- and bauble-encrusted candy and jewelry boxes also feel a little old hat amid examples of glitter's neo-applications.

Probably the best illustration of how glitter (and craft) have gone high art is Claire Joyce, who just jumped ship from Atlanta for California, leaving a trail of glitter behind her. The two works on display here, featuring birthday cake and unicorns, push all the kitsch buttons – though they have far less impact than her autobiographical, detail-crazed glitter epics.

One of Atlanta's most prominent glitter advocates, Sarah Emerson, illustrates how contemporary artists evoke childhood, femininity and create a dreamy, retro sensibility by sprinkling the stuff into tragio-romantic woodland scenes. Her spare but eye-grabbing, femmed-up portrait of a buck, called "Beast," feels like a tickle from a feather duster, a nicely ethereal accompaniment to Judy Parady's wonderful translations of glitter into dreamy solar systems.

All That Glitters: The Sparkling Works of Nine Southern Artists. Through April 26. Swan Coach House Gallery, 3130 Slaton Drive. Tues.-Sat., 10 a.m.-4 p.m. 404-266-2636. www.swancoachhouse.com.

For more images, click here.             13026888 1272547                          All That Glitters: Razzle dazzle "
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Wednesday March 19, 2008 12:04 am EDT
Swan Coach House glams up | more...
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  string(2547) "When my brother and I were little, we had a method for working out our budding anti-social urges. We would use pencil erasers to scratch out the eyeballs of models and politicians in magazines.

Fereydoon Family, whose name suggests an artist collective or cult, is engaged in a comparable expression of sublimated anger in Stepping Blind, his first solo exhibition at Whitespace Gallery in Inman Park. It's only natural that during a time of media and celebrity overload, Family would lash out where he does.

Family's raw material is images culled from magazines, newspapers, advertisements and found photographs. There are painfully awkward head-and-shoulders shots of executives, the kind you'd find in corporate annual reports. In other appropriated images, excessively cheerful models shill for some unnamed product.

Family uses fat swathes of Wite-Out to obscure their faces. With slits and holes left for eyeballs and teeth, the resulting images suggest skeletons – and death. The media relentlessly dwell on youth and beauty, but Family's superimposed skulls speak to another truth behind the brazen grins and haughty remove: that we are united in our propensity to decay and die.

The images are, frankly, scary. They recall the mutated, fleshy monsters of Francis Bacon and anonymous subway graffiti. Erasure of the face is an act of violence, and Family has rightly likened the wrath of his Wite-Out smears to "a scalpel."

The Iranian-born Family joins several other recent examples of artists taking swipes at our media culture. Jeremy Chance, whose paintings are currently on view at Dalton Gallery, also violently obliterates faces. And artist Louise Merlyn, whose work was recently shown in the Atlanta Contemporary Art Center's Talent Show, implants goofy, grinning celebrity faces on top of historical images of events such as the Nuremberg Trials.

In an Atlanta where artists wear many hats – artist/architect, artist/teacher, artist/gallery-owner – Family may be the most fascinating hyphenated artist yet. Family is a professor of physics at Emory. His research area is described as a "simulational and computational approach to condensed matter physics," which is as opaque to me as the art world's vernacular must often seem to outsiders.

Stepping Blind: Fereydoon Family. Through March 29. Whitespace Gallery, 814 Edgewood Ave. Wed.-Sat., 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; Thurs., 10 a.m.-8 p.m.; Fri.-Sat., 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; Sun., 11 a.m.-5 p.m. 404-688-1892. www.whitespace814.com.

For more images from Stepping Blind, click here."
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Fereydoon Family, whose name suggests an artist collective or cult, is engaged in a comparable expression of sublimated anger in ''Stepping Blind'', his first solo exhibition at Whitespace Gallery in Inman Park. It's only natural that during a time of media and celebrity overload, Family would lash out where he does.

Family's raw material is images culled from magazines, newspapers, advertisements and found photographs. There are painfully awkward head-and-shoulders shots of executives, the kind you'd find in corporate annual reports. In other appropriated images, excessively cheerful models shill for some unnamed product.

Family uses fat swathes of Wite-Out to obscure their faces. With slits and holes left for eyeballs and teeth, the resulting images suggest skeletons – and death. The media relentlessly dwell on youth and beauty, but Family's superimposed skulls speak to another truth behind the brazen grins and haughty remove: that we are united in our propensity to decay and die.

The images are, frankly, scary. They recall the mutated, fleshy monsters of Francis Bacon and anonymous subway graffiti. Erasure of the face is an act of violence, and Family has rightly likened the wrath of his Wite-Out smears to "a scalpel."

The Iranian-born Family joins several other recent examples of artists taking swipes at our media culture. Jeremy Chance, whose paintings are currently on view at Dalton Gallery, also violently obliterates faces. And artist Louise Merlyn, whose work was recently shown in the Atlanta Contemporary Art Center's ''Talent Show'', implants goofy, grinning celebrity faces on top of historical images of events such as the Nuremberg Trials.

In an Atlanta where artists wear many hats – artist/architect, artist/teacher, artist/gallery-owner – Family may be the most fascinating hyphenated artist yet. Family is a professor of physics at Emory. His research area is described as a "simulational and computational approach to condensed matter physics," which is as opaque to me as the art world's vernacular must often seem to outsiders.

Stepping Blind: Fereydoon Family. ''Through March 29. Whitespace Gallery, 814 Edgewood Ave. Wed.-Sat., 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; Thurs., 10 a.m.-8 p.m.; Fri.-Sat., 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; Sun., 11 a.m.-5 p.m. 404-688-1892. [http://www.whitespace814.com/|www.whitespace814.com].''

''For more images from'' Stepping Blind, ''click here.''"
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  string(2794) "    Iranian-born artist is a fascinating hyphenate   2008-03-12T04:04:00+00:00 Fereydoon Family: Lashing out   Felicia Feaster 1223506 2008-03-12T04:04:00+00:00  When my brother and I were little, we had a method for working out our budding anti-social urges. We would use pencil erasers to scratch out the eyeballs of models and politicians in magazines.

Fereydoon Family, whose name suggests an artist collective or cult, is engaged in a comparable expression of sublimated anger in Stepping Blind, his first solo exhibition at Whitespace Gallery in Inman Park. It's only natural that during a time of media and celebrity overload, Family would lash out where he does.

Family's raw material is images culled from magazines, newspapers, advertisements and found photographs. There are painfully awkward head-and-shoulders shots of executives, the kind you'd find in corporate annual reports. In other appropriated images, excessively cheerful models shill for some unnamed product.

Family uses fat swathes of Wite-Out to obscure their faces. With slits and holes left for eyeballs and teeth, the resulting images suggest skeletons – and death. The media relentlessly dwell on youth and beauty, but Family's superimposed skulls speak to another truth behind the brazen grins and haughty remove: that we are united in our propensity to decay and die.

The images are, frankly, scary. They recall the mutated, fleshy monsters of Francis Bacon and anonymous subway graffiti. Erasure of the face is an act of violence, and Family has rightly likened the wrath of his Wite-Out smears to "a scalpel."

The Iranian-born Family joins several other recent examples of artists taking swipes at our media culture. Jeremy Chance, whose paintings are currently on view at Dalton Gallery, also violently obliterates faces. And artist Louise Merlyn, whose work was recently shown in the Atlanta Contemporary Art Center's Talent Show, implants goofy, grinning celebrity faces on top of historical images of events such as the Nuremberg Trials.

In an Atlanta where artists wear many hats – artist/architect, artist/teacher, artist/gallery-owner – Family may be the most fascinating hyphenated artist yet. Family is a professor of physics at Emory. His research area is described as a "simulational and computational approach to condensed matter physics," which is as opaque to me as the art world's vernacular must often seem to outsiders.

Stepping Blind: Fereydoon Family. Through March 29. Whitespace Gallery, 814 Edgewood Ave. Wed.-Sat., 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; Thurs., 10 a.m.-8 p.m.; Fri.-Sat., 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; Sun., 11 a.m.-5 p.m. 404-688-1892. www.whitespace814.com.

For more images from Stepping Blind, click here.             13026845 1272455                          Fereydoon Family: Lashing out "
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Wednesday March 12, 2008 12:04 am EDT
Iranian-born artist is a fascinating hyphenate | more...
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  string(15945) "Los Angeles artist William E. Jones will debut his 56-minute film, Tearoom, at Eyedrum Friday, Feb. 22, at 8 p.m. The film, which will appear at the March 2008 Whitney Biennial, is a found document of a 1962 Mansfield, Ohio, police bust. Ohio police set up hidden cameras in a Mansfield public restroom hoping to catch sexual activity. What they found was men from all walks of life engaged in what in the early '60s constituted a furtive homosexual subculture. I had a chance recently to speak to Jones about the film he has made based on that police footage.

How do you think Tearoom's acceptance into the 2008 Whitney Biennial will change its reception?

I think it's great that the Biennial curators have chosen to include a found object in an exhibition at the Whitney Museum. Something comparable happened when the Rodney King beating video shot by George Holliday, who was not a professional artist, appeared in the 1993 Biennial. I was also in that Biennial, and my entry in the catalog comes right after George Holliday's. Fifteen years later, I am back at the Whitney Museum presenting a document of another of law enforcement's excesses, though not one that caused an uprising. I can't predict how Tearoom will change in this context, though it may make an interesting addition to an art-world institution often criticized for eschewing politics and ratifying decisions already made by the market.

Where and when did you first see the film on which Tearoom is based? How did you get a copy? There is an Atlanta connection?

I originally found some of the footage on the Internet. On the Planet Out website, in alphabetical order immediately before my own film Massillon, was an entry called "Mansfield, Ohio, Tearoom Busts." There was a degraded copy of a film called "Camera Surveillance." Produced by the Mansfield police and intended as an instructional film, "Camera Surveillance" demonstrated how the department had set up a sting operation in the tearoom under the central square of the city. The voice-over narration, as illiterate and hateful a text as I have ever heard committed to film, attested to the police's unenlightened attitudes. While I knew that these attitudes existed – indeed, they still do – in "Camera Surveillance" I saw that they were not only acknowledged as official policy, but held up as a standard for other police forces to imitate.

"Camera Surveillance" inspired me to produce a work about the busts. I chose to re-edit the material I found and to present it silent, without commentary. I considered the voice-over narration distracting and the images powerful (and self-explanatory) enough to stand on their own. Since that time, "Camera Surveillance" has vanished from the Internet, while Mansfield 1962 can be seen on my website, www.williamejones.com.

While I was at the Wexner Center for the Arts in Columbus, Ohio, doing post-production work on other videos, I continued to research the cases relating to Mansfield 1962 at the Ohio Historical Society. Someone at the Wexner put me in touch with Bret Wood, the director of Hell's Highway: The True Story of Highway Safety Films. Editor's note: Wood is Felicia Feaster's husband. Part of that film deals with the tearoom busts, since Highway Safety Foundation in Mansfield lent the police the equipment they used to shoot the evidence footage. Hell's Highway includes very brief excerpts of this film. Unlike the source of Mansfield 1962, this material is in vibrant color. I asked Wood where he had found the footage, and if I could use it for my own work. He had gotten it from a former Mansfield chief of police, who had been storing the film in his garage for years. The two of them donated the film to the Kinsey Institute at Indiana University. Wood made a video transfer of the film before giving it to Kinsey, and it is a copy of this tape that he generously allowed me to use to make Tearoom.

You initially thought about using the footage for a documentary project, but decided to just show it "as is" to some extent. Why did you decide to exhibit the film this way? Have you manipulated the film in any way?

Aside from opening and closing titles, I changed the footage in one way. I took the last reel of the footage, which contained images of the location and of the police walking through the restroom where they did their surveillance, and placed it at the beginning of Tearoom, so that it could function as an establishing sequence. I present the surveillance footage as it was shot and assembled in chronological order by the police.

I don't want to obscure the actions of the police by imposing my own decisions on the material. The footage was not the product of an automatic camera. It required people to operate it. While shooting this footage, the police cameramen, Bill Spognardi and Dick Burton, made many decisions about camera position, camera movement, duration of shots, perhaps even choice of subject. The decisions regarding what and when to shoot were effectively judgments of which men – and indeed, which parts of men's bodies – were worth scrutinizing. I want to preserve the cameramen's decisions so that spectators can take a look at them and form their own ideas about what was going on. Tearoom is evidence of men engaging in criminal activities under the eye of the law, but it is also a record of men hiding unseen and photographing others masturbating and having sex.

When law-enforcement figures made use of the evidence footage, they accompanied it with an excess of words, in the form of prosecutor's statements or voice-over narration. The images served as an instrument of domination, and the people who watched them were told at all times how to see them. I present these images unedited and silent so that spectators can have a respite from authority's attempts to direct their thoughts.

I have to say, having seen the film before, what I found most disturbing was the look of utter detachment and lack of emotion on the men's faces. It's not a vision of sex you'd call "joyful" or even cathartic. What about the video piqued your interest and made you want to create an art object out of it?

Tearoom may be the truest documentary of public sex before the gay liberation movement. Certainly no one in it is performing for the camera. I was talking about the detachment you mention with the artist Charlie White only recently. He sees the expressions and postures of the men in Tearoom as being indicative of the era before porn taught men how to have sex, or at least how to look and sound while they have it.

Someone watching and listening for intruders can hardly get much obvious joy from furtive sex, at least in the moment. But these experiences acquire another flavor in the retelling, as the men who have contributed to the journal Straight to Hell remind us. Those who engage in public sex have a special body of knowledge. They have proof that many men are not as "normal" as they would have us believe, and they are in a very good position to understand their society's hypocrisy.

I heard you were unhappy with how one of the screenings forTearoom  went, at the Warhol Museum. Was it shown in a different context than you would have liked? Can you talk about that?

I think Andy Warhol – as director, not as producer – was a great filmmaker, and his films constitute the most remarkable part of his achievement as an artist. I presumed to give Tearoom a Warholian title – impersonal, generic, yet evocative in one word – as a tribute to him but also as a way of raising the question of his work's relation to my own. To present Tearoom at the Andy Warhol Museum was a wonderful opportunity, but the screening turned out somewhat differently than I had hoped. After showing Tearoom, the curator, who did so with the best intentions, also showed "Camera Surveillance" and another instructional film that includes Mansfield footage, "The Child Molester." These other films have repugnant, overdetermined soundtracks, and they made the audience very angry. The question-and-answer session turned into a forum for spectators to express their opinions on a local crackdown on public sex and on the impropriety of me showing police evidence footage in public. Though the event was a film screening in an art museum, none of the questions I took from the audience directly related to film or art. People lost sight of the pure fascination of the film, the experience of watching ordinary men have sex with each other in a recent, yet somehow remote, historical era. After the Warhol Museum screening, I decided to avoid presenting Tearoom in screening programs with other works. It is a unique document, and it deserves to have its own context.

I probably shouldn't have been surprised by the Pittsburgh audience's reaction. My works tend to be controversial. This leads to all sorts of interesting discussions, some of them quite heated. Confounding conventional expectations is a worthy goal for a filmmaker, but the consequences can be personally uncomfortable.

You have worked in documentary, video art and photography. How does Tearoom deal with themes in your other works? You work a lot with found footage. Can you talk about what this kind of footage intended for use in one arena, and appropriated for another, means to you?

Of all my works, Tearoom most closely resembles the first, Massillon, so there is the sense of my practice coming full circle. The project of researching legal aspects of sex is over for me, at least for now. In my previous films and videos, I had always avoided sexually explicit images, but in Tearoom, spectators finally get to see sex, albeit in a way that may not please them.

Quite a lot of film criticism since the 1950s concentrates on the notion of directorial style, especially visual style. I wish to question what it means to have a style, and whether it is even necessary to have one. In my first works, I felt compelled to emphasize that I was making an artistic statement. I now want to see what happens if I forgo that effort. Perhaps simply choosing an artifact and providing it with a new context is enough. I make no claims on the genre of the found footage film, but appropriation is a word that interests me very much. I suppose I am simply applying to film a strategy that artists have been using for decades. I am a slow learner.

There are also practical aspects of these decisions. I started what is conventionally known as a career with the notion that I could be an experimental filmmaker. People still pursue this activity in the U.S., but they tend to be what was once called "mechanically inclined" or they have the institutional support of a school where they teach. Neither of these conditions really apply to me, so I have had to adapt.

Partly due to circumstances beyond my control, and partly as the result of guile and tenacity, I am now being embraced by the art world. I think that this environment may be the best one for sustaining the practice I have developed over the years.

What does the title Tearoom mean?

A tearoom is a public restroom used for brief, anonymous sexual encounters. The origins of the term are unknown. The word possibly derives from British slang use of the word "tea" to mean urine. No one can specify the historical origins of meeting in bathrooms to have sex, but the practice is certainly nothing new. Before every large American city had a selection of legal, safe gay bars, the tearoom was the main meeting place for men who wished to have sex with other men. According to the testimony of many older gay men, sexual activity in restrooms was widespread and constant in the Midwest of the early 1960s. Toilets in department stores, in parks, along public highways and even in county courthouses were hotbeds of tearoom trade.

As many have pointed out, anonymous gay bathroom sex hasn't gone out of fashion since 1962, as Idaho Sen. Larry Craig recently reminded us. And Atlanta police have also recently been doing undercover sting operations at Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson airport. Is Tearoom part of this larger matter of public sex, or is it tied in your mind, to the past?

Public sex is never going away, though bars, bathhouses and now the Internet provide convenient venues for many people to make contacts. Mansfield, Ohio, I should point out, still has no gay bar. Even men in urban areas with strong gay communities frequent tearooms, if they are looking for anonymity and danger. And of course, the closet still holds an appeal for a few die-hards.

I think it is important to respect Tearoom as a historical artifact. Presented in the aftermath of Sen. Craig's recent publicity, Tearoom appears to be the forerunner not only of contemporary surveillance culture but of a media landscape saturated with cynicism and moral panic. When the Mansfield police shot the footage and disseminated some of it in an instructional film, their work was unique. No other police department could afford such a time-consuming and expensive endeavor. In a way, Mansfield's film is isolated in history. Digital video, fiber optics, night vision and the like have made such an operation a practical possibility, but it may no longer be legal. Most of the success with this kind of surveillance has actually been in observing company locker rooms, where union organizing, rather than sexual intercourse, tends to happen.

Tell me briefly about your upbringing in Canton, Ohio, and how it has informed your work. Obviously Tearoom ties in to your past in Ohio. Can you talk about that aspect? Do you think "Tearoom" might mean something different to you because of that Ohio backdrop?

The Mansfield tearoom busts may not be especially well-known, but they have a personal importance for me. I was born in 1962, during the period between the arrests in the case and the first appearance of the suspects in court. Mansfield is an hour's drive away from my hometown of Massillon, Ohio. While I was growing up, no one ever talked about the dozens of men convicted or the tactics used to round them up. I knew nothing at all about the case until I happened to find "Camera Surveillance" on the Internet.

The most emotionally intense and memorable sequence in my first film, Massillon, is a tearoom scene. It sets a tone and provides an introduction to the final third of the film, an analysis of laws proscribing sexual activity in the United States. At the time I made Massillon, I was not yet aware that another tearoom scene, this one with catastrophic legal consequences, had transpired so close to home.

When I learned about the Mansfield tearoom busts, I felt as though I had found, among other things, a confirmation of what I had written about in Massillon. I think that the case must have cast a pall on what there was of gay life in the region. The witch-hunt atmosphere that encouraged the police in their actions, and possibly remorse for the results of them, also had an effect on the moral teachings of my upbringing.

What kind of responses has Tearoom inspired in audiences?

It's still a bit too early to define a trend, since few audiences have seen Tearoom. In San Francisco, there was an engaged and friendly audience; in Pittsburgh, an engaged but not so friendly audience. Screenings in Argentina, Ecuador and Hong Kong took place without me. For screenings in the United States, I insist on being present to answer audience questions – and there are many – after screenings of Tearoom. I have had to make an exception for the Whitney, because they will be showing Tearoom once a day for a period of three months. It isn't practical for me to take up residence there, so in time for the opening of the Biennial, I prepared a book, also called Tearoom. It gathers all of the writing I could find about the cases and the film, as well as my essays about the work. It is available from an independent publisher in Los Angeles, www.2ndcannons.com."
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  string(16256) "Los Angeles artist William E. Jones will debut his 56-minute film, ''Tearoom'', at Eyedrum Friday, Feb. 22, at 8 p.m. The film, which will appear at the March 2008 Whitney Biennial, is a found document of a 1962 Mansfield, Ohio, police bust. Ohio police set up hidden cameras in a Mansfield public restroom hoping to catch sexual activity. What they found was men from all walks of life engaged in what in the early '60s constituted a furtive homosexual subculture. I had a chance recently to speak to Jones about the film he has made based on that police footage.

__How do you think__ __''Tearoom'''s acceptance into the 2008 Whitney Biennial will change its reception?__

I think it's great that the Biennial curators have chosen to include a found object in an exhibition at the Whitney Museum. Something comparable happened when the Rodney King beating video shot by George Holliday, who was not a professional artist, appeared in the 1993 Biennial. I was also in that Biennial, and my entry in the catalog comes right after George Holliday's. Fifteen years later, I am back at the Whitney Museum presenting a document of another of law enforcement's excesses, though not one that caused an uprising. I can't predict how ''Tearoom'' will change in this context, though it may make an interesting addition to an art-world institution often criticized for eschewing politics and ratifying decisions already made by the market.

__Where and when did you first see the film on which__ __''Tearoom''__ __is based? How did you get a copy? There is an Atlanta connection?__

I originally found some of the footage on the Internet. On the Planet Out website, in alphabetical order immediately before my own film ''Massillon'', was an entry called "Mansfield, Ohio, Tearoom Busts." There was a degraded copy of a film called "Camera Surveillance." Produced by the Mansfield police and intended as an instructional film, "Camera Surveillance" demonstrated how the department had set up a sting operation in the tearoom under the central square of the city. The voice-over narration, as illiterate and hateful a text as I have ever heard committed to film, attested to the police's unenlightened attitudes. While I knew that these attitudes existed – indeed, they still do – in "Camera Surveillance" I saw that they were not only acknowledged as official policy, but held up as a standard for other police forces to imitate.

"Camera Surveillance" inspired me to produce a work about the busts. I chose to re-edit the material I found and to present it silent, without commentary. I considered the voice-over narration distracting and the images powerful (and self-explanatory) enough to stand on their own. Since that time, "Camera Surveillance" has vanished from the Internet, while ''Mansfield 1962'' can be seen on my website, [http://www.williamejones.com/|www.williamejones.com].

While I was at the Wexner Center for the Arts in Columbus, Ohio, doing post-production work on other videos, I continued to research the cases relating to ''Mansfield 1962'' at the Ohio Historical Society. Someone at the Wexner put me in touch with Bret Wood, the director of ''Hell's Highway: The True Story of Highway Safety Films''. [Editor's note: Wood is Felicia Feaster's husband.] Part of that film deals with the tearoom busts, since Highway Safety Foundation in Mansfield lent the police the equipment they used to shoot the evidence footage. ''Hell's Highway'' includes very brief excerpts of this film. Unlike the source of ''Mansfield 1962'', this material is in vibrant color. I asked Wood where he had found the footage, and if I could use it for my own work. He had gotten it from a former Mansfield chief of police, who had been storing the film in his garage for years. The two of them donated the film to the Kinsey Institute at Indiana University. Wood made a video transfer of the film before giving it to Kinsey, and it is a copy of this tape that he generously allowed me to use to make ''Tearoom''.

__You initially thought about using the footage for a documentary project, but decided to just show it "as is" to some extent. Why did you decide to exhibit the film this way? Have you manipulated the film in any way?__

Aside from opening and closing titles, I changed the footage in one way. I took the last reel of the footage, which contained images of the location and of the police walking through the restroom where they did their surveillance, and placed it at the beginning of ''Tearoom'', so that it could function as an establishing sequence. I present the surveillance footage as it was shot and assembled in chronological order by the police.

I don't want to obscure the actions of the police by imposing my own decisions on the material. The footage was not the product of an automatic camera. It required people to operate it. While shooting this footage, the police cameramen, Bill Spognardi and Dick Burton, made many decisions about camera position, camera movement, duration of shots, perhaps even choice of subject. The decisions regarding what and when to shoot were effectively judgments of which men – and indeed, which parts of men's bodies – were worth scrutinizing. I want to preserve the cameramen's decisions so that spectators can take a look at them and form their own ideas about what was going on. ''Tearoom'' is evidence of men engaging in criminal activities under the eye of the law, but it is also a record of men hiding unseen and photographing others masturbating and having sex.

When law-enforcement figures made use of the evidence footage, they accompanied it with an excess of words, in the form of prosecutor's statements or voice-over narration. The images served as an instrument of domination, and the people who watched them were told at all times how to see them. I present these images unedited and silent so that spectators can have a respite from authority's attempts to direct their thoughts.

__I have to say, having seen the film before, what I found most disturbing was the look of utter detachment and lack of emotion on the men's faces. It's not a vision of sex you'd call "joyful" or even cathartic. What about the video piqued your interest and made you want to create an art object out of it?__

''Tearoom'' may be the truest documentary of public sex before the gay liberation movement. Certainly no one in it is performing for the camera. I was talking about the detachment you mention with the artist Charlie White only recently. He sees the expressions and postures of the men in ''Tearoom'' as being indicative of the era before porn taught men how to have sex, or at least how to look and sound while they have it.

Someone watching and listening for intruders can hardly get much obvious joy from furtive sex, at least in the moment. But these experiences acquire another flavor in the retelling, as the men who have contributed to the journal ''Straight to Hell'' remind us. Those who engage in public sex have a special body of knowledge. They have proof that many men are not as "normal" as they would have us believe, and they are in a very good position to understand their society's hypocrisy.

__I heard you were unhappy with how one of the screenings for''Tearoom''__  __went, at the Warhol Museum. Was it shown in a different context than you would have liked? Can you talk about that?__

I think Andy Warhol – as director, not as producer – was a great filmmaker, and his films constitute the most remarkable part of his achievement as an artist. I presumed to give ''Tearoom'' a Warholian title – impersonal, generic, yet evocative in one word – as a tribute to him but also as a way of raising the question of his work's relation to my own. To present ''Tearoom'' at the Andy Warhol Museum was a wonderful opportunity, but the screening turned out somewhat differently than I had hoped. After showing ''Tearoom'', the curator, who did so with the best intentions, also showed "Camera Surveillance" and another instructional film that includes Mansfield footage, "The Child Molester." These other films have repugnant, overdetermined soundtracks, and they made the audience very angry. The question-and-answer session turned into a forum for spectators to express their opinions on a local crackdown on public sex and on the impropriety of me showing police evidence footage in public. Though the event was a film screening in an art museum, none of the questions I took from the audience directly related to film or art. People lost sight of the pure fascination of the film, the experience of watching ordinary men have sex with each other in a recent, yet somehow remote, historical era. After the Warhol Museum screening, I decided to avoid presenting ''Tearoom'' in screening programs with other works. It is a unique document, and it deserves to have its own context.

I probably shouldn't have been surprised by the Pittsburgh audience's reaction. My works tend to be controversial. This leads to all sorts of interesting discussions, some of them quite heated. Confounding conventional expectations is a worthy goal for a filmmaker, but the consequences can be personally uncomfortable.

__You have worked in documentary, video art and photography. How does__ __''Tearoom''__ __deal with themes in your other works? You work a lot with found footage. Can you talk about what this kind of footage intended for use in one arena, and appropriated for another, means to you?__

Of all my works, ''Tearoom'' most closely resembles the first, ''Massillon'', so there is the sense of my practice coming full circle. The project of researching legal aspects of sex is over for me, at least for now. In my previous films and videos, I had always avoided sexually explicit images, but in ''Tearoom'', spectators finally get to see sex, albeit in a way that may not please them.

Quite a lot of film criticism since the 1950s concentrates on the notion of directorial style, especially visual style. I wish to question what it means to have a style, and whether it is even necessary to have one. In my first works, I felt compelled to emphasize that I was making an artistic statement. I now want to see what happens if I forgo that effort. Perhaps simply choosing an artifact and providing it with a new context is enough. I make no claims on the genre of the found footage film, but appropriation is a word that interests me very much. I suppose I am simply applying to film a strategy that artists have been using for decades. I am a slow learner.

There are also practical aspects of these decisions. I started what is conventionally known as a career with the notion that I could be an experimental filmmaker. People still pursue this activity in the U.S., but they tend to be what was once called "mechanically inclined" or they have the institutional support of a school where they teach. Neither of these conditions really apply to me, so I have had to adapt.

Partly due to circumstances beyond my control, and partly as the result of guile and tenacity, I am now being embraced by the art world. I think that this environment may be the best one for sustaining the practice I have developed over the years.

__What does the title__ __''Tearoom''__ __mean?__

A tearoom is a public restroom used for brief, anonymous sexual encounters. The origins of the term are unknown. The word possibly derives from British slang use of the word "tea" to mean urine. No one can specify the historical origins of meeting in bathrooms to have sex, but the practice is certainly nothing new. Before every large American city had a selection of legal, safe gay bars, the tearoom was the main meeting place for men who wished to have sex with other men. According to the testimony of many older gay men, sexual activity in restrooms was widespread and constant in the Midwest of the early 1960s. Toilets in department stores, in parks, along public highways and even in county courthouses were hotbeds of tearoom trade.

__As many have pointed out, anonymous gay bathroom sex hasn't gone out of fashion since 1962, as Idaho Sen. Larry Craig recently reminded us. And Atlanta police have also recently been doing undercover sting operations at Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson airport. Is__ __''Tearoom''__ __part of this larger matter of public sex, or is it tied in your mind, to the past?__

Public sex is never going away, though bars, bathhouses and now the Internet provide convenient venues for many people to make contacts. Mansfield, Ohio, I should point out, still has no gay bar. Even men in urban areas with strong gay communities frequent tearooms, if they are looking for anonymity and danger. And of course, the closet still holds an appeal for a few die-hards.

I think it is important to respect ''Tearoom'' as a historical artifact. Presented in the aftermath of Sen. Craig's recent publicity, ''Tearoom'' appears to be the forerunner not only of contemporary surveillance culture but of a media landscape saturated with cynicism and moral panic. When the Mansfield police shot the footage and disseminated some of it in an instructional film, their work was unique. No other police department could afford such a time-consuming and expensive endeavor. In a way, Mansfield's film is isolated in history. Digital video, fiber optics, night vision and the like have made such an operation a practical possibility, but it may no longer be legal. Most of the success with this kind of surveillance has actually been in observing company locker rooms, where union organizing, rather than sexual intercourse, tends to happen.

__Tell me briefly about your upbringing in Canton, Ohio, and how it has informed your work. Obviously__ __''Tearoom''__ __ties in to your past in Ohio. Can you talk about that aspect? Do you think "Tearoom" might mean something different to you because of that Ohio backdrop?__

The Mansfield tearoom busts may not be especially well-known, but they have a personal importance for me. I was born in 1962, during the period between the arrests in the case and the first appearance of the suspects in court. Mansfield is an hour's drive away from my hometown of Massillon, Ohio. While I was growing up, no one ever talked about the dozens of men convicted or the tactics used to round them up. I knew nothing at all about the case until I happened to find "Camera Surveillance" on the Internet.

The most emotionally intense and memorable sequence in my first film, ''Massillon'', is a tearoom scene. It sets a tone and provides an introduction to the final third of the film, an analysis of laws proscribing sexual activity in the United States. At the time I made ''Massillon'', I was not yet aware that another tearoom scene, this one with catastrophic legal consequences, had transpired so close to home.

When I learned about the Mansfield tearoom busts, I felt as though I had found, among other things, a confirmation of what I had written about in ''Massillon''. I think that the case must have cast a pall on what there was of gay life in the region. The witch-hunt atmosphere that encouraged the police in their actions, and possibly remorse for the results of them, also had an effect on the moral teachings of my upbringing.

__What kind of responses has__ __''Tearoom''__ __inspired in audiences__?

It's still a bit too early to define a trend, since few audiences have seen ''Tearoom''. In San Francisco, there was an engaged and friendly audience; in Pittsburgh, an engaged but not so friendly audience. Screenings in Argentina, Ecuador and Hong Kong took place without me. For screenings in the United States, I insist on being present to answer audience questions – and there are many – after screenings of ''Tearoom''. I have had to make an exception for the Whitney, because they will be showing ''Tearoom'' once a day for a period of three months. It isn't practical for me to take up residence there, so in time for the opening of the Biennial, I prepared a book, also called ''Tearoom''. It gathers all of the writing I could find about the cases and the film, as well as my essays about the work. It is available from an independent publisher in Los Angeles, [http://www.2ndcannons.com/|www.2ndcannons.com]."
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  string(16218) "    Artist talks about his 2008 Whitney Biennial Film, Tearoom   2008-02-20T05:04:00+00:00 William E. Jones: The secret history   Felicia Feaster 1223506 2008-02-20T05:04:00+00:00  Los Angeles artist William E. Jones will debut his 56-minute film, Tearoom, at Eyedrum Friday, Feb. 22, at 8 p.m. The film, which will appear at the March 2008 Whitney Biennial, is a found document of a 1962 Mansfield, Ohio, police bust. Ohio police set up hidden cameras in a Mansfield public restroom hoping to catch sexual activity. What they found was men from all walks of life engaged in what in the early '60s constituted a furtive homosexual subculture. I had a chance recently to speak to Jones about the film he has made based on that police footage.

How do you think Tearoom's acceptance into the 2008 Whitney Biennial will change its reception?

I think it's great that the Biennial curators have chosen to include a found object in an exhibition at the Whitney Museum. Something comparable happened when the Rodney King beating video shot by George Holliday, who was not a professional artist, appeared in the 1993 Biennial. I was also in that Biennial, and my entry in the catalog comes right after George Holliday's. Fifteen years later, I am back at the Whitney Museum presenting a document of another of law enforcement's excesses, though not one that caused an uprising. I can't predict how Tearoom will change in this context, though it may make an interesting addition to an art-world institution often criticized for eschewing politics and ratifying decisions already made by the market.

Where and when did you first see the film on which Tearoom is based? How did you get a copy? There is an Atlanta connection?

I originally found some of the footage on the Internet. On the Planet Out website, in alphabetical order immediately before my own film Massillon, was an entry called "Mansfield, Ohio, Tearoom Busts." There was a degraded copy of a film called "Camera Surveillance." Produced by the Mansfield police and intended as an instructional film, "Camera Surveillance" demonstrated how the department had set up a sting operation in the tearoom under the central square of the city. The voice-over narration, as illiterate and hateful a text as I have ever heard committed to film, attested to the police's unenlightened attitudes. While I knew that these attitudes existed – indeed, they still do – in "Camera Surveillance" I saw that they were not only acknowledged as official policy, but held up as a standard for other police forces to imitate.

"Camera Surveillance" inspired me to produce a work about the busts. I chose to re-edit the material I found and to present it silent, without commentary. I considered the voice-over narration distracting and the images powerful (and self-explanatory) enough to stand on their own. Since that time, "Camera Surveillance" has vanished from the Internet, while Mansfield 1962 can be seen on my website, www.williamejones.com.

While I was at the Wexner Center for the Arts in Columbus, Ohio, doing post-production work on other videos, I continued to research the cases relating to Mansfield 1962 at the Ohio Historical Society. Someone at the Wexner put me in touch with Bret Wood, the director of Hell's Highway: The True Story of Highway Safety Films. Editor's note: Wood is Felicia Feaster's husband. Part of that film deals with the tearoom busts, since Highway Safety Foundation in Mansfield lent the police the equipment they used to shoot the evidence footage. Hell's Highway includes very brief excerpts of this film. Unlike the source of Mansfield 1962, this material is in vibrant color. I asked Wood where he had found the footage, and if I could use it for my own work. He had gotten it from a former Mansfield chief of police, who had been storing the film in his garage for years. The two of them donated the film to the Kinsey Institute at Indiana University. Wood made a video transfer of the film before giving it to Kinsey, and it is a copy of this tape that he generously allowed me to use to make Tearoom.

You initially thought about using the footage for a documentary project, but decided to just show it "as is" to some extent. Why did you decide to exhibit the film this way? Have you manipulated the film in any way?

Aside from opening and closing titles, I changed the footage in one way. I took the last reel of the footage, which contained images of the location and of the police walking through the restroom where they did their surveillance, and placed it at the beginning of Tearoom, so that it could function as an establishing sequence. I present the surveillance footage as it was shot and assembled in chronological order by the police.

I don't want to obscure the actions of the police by imposing my own decisions on the material. The footage was not the product of an automatic camera. It required people to operate it. While shooting this footage, the police cameramen, Bill Spognardi and Dick Burton, made many decisions about camera position, camera movement, duration of shots, perhaps even choice of subject. The decisions regarding what and when to shoot were effectively judgments of which men – and indeed, which parts of men's bodies – were worth scrutinizing. I want to preserve the cameramen's decisions so that spectators can take a look at them and form their own ideas about what was going on. Tearoom is evidence of men engaging in criminal activities under the eye of the law, but it is also a record of men hiding unseen and photographing others masturbating and having sex.

When law-enforcement figures made use of the evidence footage, they accompanied it with an excess of words, in the form of prosecutor's statements or voice-over narration. The images served as an instrument of domination, and the people who watched them were told at all times how to see them. I present these images unedited and silent so that spectators can have a respite from authority's attempts to direct their thoughts.

I have to say, having seen the film before, what I found most disturbing was the look of utter detachment and lack of emotion on the men's faces. It's not a vision of sex you'd call "joyful" or even cathartic. What about the video piqued your interest and made you want to create an art object out of it?

Tearoom may be the truest documentary of public sex before the gay liberation movement. Certainly no one in it is performing for the camera. I was talking about the detachment you mention with the artist Charlie White only recently. He sees the expressions and postures of the men in Tearoom as being indicative of the era before porn taught men how to have sex, or at least how to look and sound while they have it.

Someone watching and listening for intruders can hardly get much obvious joy from furtive sex, at least in the moment. But these experiences acquire another flavor in the retelling, as the men who have contributed to the journal Straight to Hell remind us. Those who engage in public sex have a special body of knowledge. They have proof that many men are not as "normal" as they would have us believe, and they are in a very good position to understand their society's hypocrisy.

I heard you were unhappy with how one of the screenings forTearoom  went, at the Warhol Museum. Was it shown in a different context than you would have liked? Can you talk about that?

I think Andy Warhol – as director, not as producer – was a great filmmaker, and his films constitute the most remarkable part of his achievement as an artist. I presumed to give Tearoom a Warholian title – impersonal, generic, yet evocative in one word – as a tribute to him but also as a way of raising the question of his work's relation to my own. To present Tearoom at the Andy Warhol Museum was a wonderful opportunity, but the screening turned out somewhat differently than I had hoped. After showing Tearoom, the curator, who did so with the best intentions, also showed "Camera Surveillance" and another instructional film that includes Mansfield footage, "The Child Molester." These other films have repugnant, overdetermined soundtracks, and they made the audience very angry. The question-and-answer session turned into a forum for spectators to express their opinions on a local crackdown on public sex and on the impropriety of me showing police evidence footage in public. Though the event was a film screening in an art museum, none of the questions I took from the audience directly related to film or art. People lost sight of the pure fascination of the film, the experience of watching ordinary men have sex with each other in a recent, yet somehow remote, historical era. After the Warhol Museum screening, I decided to avoid presenting Tearoom in screening programs with other works. It is a unique document, and it deserves to have its own context.

I probably shouldn't have been surprised by the Pittsburgh audience's reaction. My works tend to be controversial. This leads to all sorts of interesting discussions, some of them quite heated. Confounding conventional expectations is a worthy goal for a filmmaker, but the consequences can be personally uncomfortable.

You have worked in documentary, video art and photography. How does Tearoom deal with themes in your other works? You work a lot with found footage. Can you talk about what this kind of footage intended for use in one arena, and appropriated for another, means to you?

Of all my works, Tearoom most closely resembles the first, Massillon, so there is the sense of my practice coming full circle. The project of researching legal aspects of sex is over for me, at least for now. In my previous films and videos, I had always avoided sexually explicit images, but in Tearoom, spectators finally get to see sex, albeit in a way that may not please them.

Quite a lot of film criticism since the 1950s concentrates on the notion of directorial style, especially visual style. I wish to question what it means to have a style, and whether it is even necessary to have one. In my first works, I felt compelled to emphasize that I was making an artistic statement. I now want to see what happens if I forgo that effort. Perhaps simply choosing an artifact and providing it with a new context is enough. I make no claims on the genre of the found footage film, but appropriation is a word that interests me very much. I suppose I am simply applying to film a strategy that artists have been using for decades. I am a slow learner.

There are also practical aspects of these decisions. I started what is conventionally known as a career with the notion that I could be an experimental filmmaker. People still pursue this activity in the U.S., but they tend to be what was once called "mechanically inclined" or they have the institutional support of a school where they teach. Neither of these conditions really apply to me, so I have had to adapt.

Partly due to circumstances beyond my control, and partly as the result of guile and tenacity, I am now being embraced by the art world. I think that this environment may be the best one for sustaining the practice I have developed over the years.

What does the title Tearoom mean?

A tearoom is a public restroom used for brief, anonymous sexual encounters. The origins of the term are unknown. The word possibly derives from British slang use of the word "tea" to mean urine. No one can specify the historical origins of meeting in bathrooms to have sex, but the practice is certainly nothing new. Before every large American city had a selection of legal, safe gay bars, the tearoom was the main meeting place for men who wished to have sex with other men. According to the testimony of many older gay men, sexual activity in restrooms was widespread and constant in the Midwest of the early 1960s. Toilets in department stores, in parks, along public highways and even in county courthouses were hotbeds of tearoom trade.

As many have pointed out, anonymous gay bathroom sex hasn't gone out of fashion since 1962, as Idaho Sen. Larry Craig recently reminded us. And Atlanta police have also recently been doing undercover sting operations at Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson airport. Is Tearoom part of this larger matter of public sex, or is it tied in your mind, to the past?

Public sex is never going away, though bars, bathhouses and now the Internet provide convenient venues for many people to make contacts. Mansfield, Ohio, I should point out, still has no gay bar. Even men in urban areas with strong gay communities frequent tearooms, if they are looking for anonymity and danger. And of course, the closet still holds an appeal for a few die-hards.

I think it is important to respect Tearoom as a historical artifact. Presented in the aftermath of Sen. Craig's recent publicity, Tearoom appears to be the forerunner not only of contemporary surveillance culture but of a media landscape saturated with cynicism and moral panic. When the Mansfield police shot the footage and disseminated some of it in an instructional film, their work was unique. No other police department could afford such a time-consuming and expensive endeavor. In a way, Mansfield's film is isolated in history. Digital video, fiber optics, night vision and the like have made such an operation a practical possibility, but it may no longer be legal. Most of the success with this kind of surveillance has actually been in observing company locker rooms, where union organizing, rather than sexual intercourse, tends to happen.

Tell me briefly about your upbringing in Canton, Ohio, and how it has informed your work. Obviously Tearoom ties in to your past in Ohio. Can you talk about that aspect? Do you think "Tearoom" might mean something different to you because of that Ohio backdrop?

The Mansfield tearoom busts may not be especially well-known, but they have a personal importance for me. I was born in 1962, during the period between the arrests in the case and the first appearance of the suspects in court. Mansfield is an hour's drive away from my hometown of Massillon, Ohio. While I was growing up, no one ever talked about the dozens of men convicted or the tactics used to round them up. I knew nothing at all about the case until I happened to find "Camera Surveillance" on the Internet.

The most emotionally intense and memorable sequence in my first film, Massillon, is a tearoom scene. It sets a tone and provides an introduction to the final third of the film, an analysis of laws proscribing sexual activity in the United States. At the time I made Massillon, I was not yet aware that another tearoom scene, this one with catastrophic legal consequences, had transpired so close to home.

When I learned about the Mansfield tearoom busts, I felt as though I had found, among other things, a confirmation of what I had written about in Massillon. I think that the case must have cast a pall on what there was of gay life in the region. The witch-hunt atmosphere that encouraged the police in their actions, and possibly remorse for the results of them, also had an effect on the moral teachings of my upbringing.

What kind of responses has Tearoom inspired in audiences?

It's still a bit too early to define a trend, since few audiences have seen Tearoom. In San Francisco, there was an engaged and friendly audience; in Pittsburgh, an engaged but not so friendly audience. Screenings in Argentina, Ecuador and Hong Kong took place without me. For screenings in the United States, I insist on being present to answer audience questions – and there are many – after screenings of Tearoom. I have had to make an exception for the Whitney, because they will be showing Tearoom once a day for a period of three months. It isn't practical for me to take up residence there, so in time for the opening of the Biennial, I prepared a book, also called Tearoom. It gathers all of the writing I could find about the cases and the film, as well as my essays about the work. It is available from an independent publisher in Los Angeles, www.2ndcannons.com.             13026731 1272210                          William E. Jones: The secret history "
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Article

Wednesday February 20, 2008 12:04 am EST
Artist talks about his 2008 Whitney Biennial Film, Tearoom | more...
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  string(2181) "Sometime in the early 2000s, Los Angeles artist William E. Jones came across a degraded copy of a 1964 instructional film called "Camera Surveillance." And like so many things stumbled upon during an Internet troll, the content was deeply disturbing.

In the grainy video an array of men – black and white, young and old, white collar and blue collar – can be observed engaging in sexual activities of every sort in a Mansfield, Ohio, public restroom. They wear expressions of mild anxiety and restlessness, their eyes diligently trained on the bathroom door, wary of interlopers. Dressed in porkpie hats and ties, or lumpen and macho, the men suggest a blue-movie version of "The Honeymooners." In their variety, these wildly diverse men are a revelatory vision of closeted gay life circa 1962, when the actual surveillance footage was shot.

The footage was part of a police bust meant to capture "sex deviates" in the sensational vernacular of the city's Mansfield News-Journal. Dozens of men were arrested in the sting operation, their lives irreparably changed. Jones was able to obtain the original surveillance footage from Atlantan Bret Wood (in full disclosure, my husband). Wood had included the footage in his documentary about highway safety films, Hell's Highway: The True Story of Highway Safety Films.

What might have struck some as a creepy cultural oddity inspired Jones. "Camera Surveillance" was rich fodder for an artist who has often worked with found material and with gay themes. He slightly modified the surveillance footage and dubbed the film Tearoom, slang for a public bathroom where men meet for sex. Tearoom was selected for the prestigious 2008 Whitney Biennial in March.

Jones grew up in Massillon, Ohio, just an hour away from Mansfield. For Jones, the footage was evidence of everything beneath the surface of his own Midwestern reality. It is a document of America's secret history and a sexual subculture where "toilets in department stores, in parks, along public highways and even in county courthouses were hotbeds of tearoom trade."

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In the grainy video an array of men – black and white, young and old, white collar and blue collar – can be observed engaging in sexual activities of every sort in a Mansfield, Ohio, public restroom. They wear expressions of mild anxiety and restlessness, their eyes diligently trained on the bathroom door, wary of interlopers. Dressed in porkpie hats and ties, or lumpen and macho, the men suggest a blue-movie version of "The Honeymooners." In their variety, these wildly diverse men are a revelatory vision of closeted gay life circa 1962, when the actual surveillance footage was shot.

The footage was part of a police bust meant to capture "sex deviates" in the sensational vernacular of the city's ''Mansfield News-Journal''. Dozens of men were arrested in the sting operation, their lives irreparably changed. Jones was able to obtain the original surveillance footage from Atlantan Bret Wood (in full disclosure, my husband). Wood had included the footage in his documentary about highway safety films, ''Hell's Highway: The True Story of Highway Safety Films''.

What might have struck some as a creepy cultural oddity inspired Jones. "Camera Surveillance" was rich fodder for an artist who has often worked with found material and with gay themes. He slightly modified the surveillance footage and dubbed the film ''Tearoom'', slang for a public bathroom where men meet for sex. ''Tearoom'' was selected for the prestigious 2008 Whitney Biennial in March.

Jones grew up in Massillon, Ohio, just an hour away from Mansfield. For Jones, the footage was evidence of everything beneath the surface of his own Midwestern reality. It is a document of America's secret history and a sexual subculture where "toilets in department stores, in parks, along public highways and even in county courthouses were hotbeds of tearoom trade."

"''Tearoom'' may be the truest documentary of public sex before the gay liberation movement," Jones says."
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In the grainy video an array of men – black and white, young and old, white collar and blue collar – can be observed engaging in sexual activities of every sort in a Mansfield, Ohio, public restroom. They wear expressions of mild anxiety and restlessness, their eyes diligently trained on the bathroom door, wary of interlopers. Dressed in porkpie hats and ties, or lumpen and macho, the men suggest a blue-movie version of "The Honeymooners." In their variety, these wildly diverse men are a revelatory vision of closeted gay life circa 1962, when the actual surveillance footage was shot.

The footage was part of a police bust meant to capture "sex deviates" in the sensational vernacular of the city's Mansfield News-Journal. Dozens of men were arrested in the sting operation, their lives irreparably changed. Jones was able to obtain the original surveillance footage from Atlantan Bret Wood (in full disclosure, my husband). Wood had included the footage in his documentary about highway safety films, Hell's Highway: The True Story of Highway Safety Films.

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Article

Wednesday February 20, 2008 12:04 am EST
Film series features Whitney Biennial artist William E. Jones | more...
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  string(27) "Eero Saarinen: Sleek streak"
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  string(5289) "The Finnish-born, American-bred architect Eero Saarinen gave America some exceptional architecture: Washington, D.C.'s Dulles International Airport, the St. Louis Gateway Arch, MIT's Kresge Auditorium. Though he was often disparaged in his day for varying his designs rather than adhering to a signature style, Saarinen's iconic billowing, animated forms have come back into favor, acknowledged by architecture scholars and renowned architects from Santiago Calatrava to Frank Gehry.

Saarinen could do steel and glass, as seen in his sleek, classically modernist design for the General Motors Technical Center. But he could also do lush and curvy, as in his TWA terminal at John F. Kennedy International Airport.

The terminal's swooping concrete-shell exterior and melting interior invite every possible international jet-set, sci-fi allusion, to "The Jetsons" and the supergroovy architecture of Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey.

Eero immigrated to America with his family in 1923. His architect father Eliel directed the Cranbrook Academy of Art in Michigan, and it was at Cranbrook that Eero met many of his future collaborators, including Charles and Ray Eames and Florence (Schust) Knoll. He studied sculpture at the Academie de la Grande Chaumiere in Paris and architecture at Yale, and his furniture designs suggest an artist-architect love child of form and function.

The Furniture of Eero Saarinen: Designs for Everyday Living at the Museum of Design Atlanta is a look at Saarinen the furniture designer, whose silhouettes have become synonymous with midcentury modernism.

The MODA exhibition features some of Saarinen's most iconic pieces. The 1948 Womb Chair was designed by Saarinen to accommodate a different approach to comfort: the modern tendency to slouch and fold one's body into furniture. With its wide, welcoming berth perched on whimsically spindly legs, the Womb Chair is like an inverted television: a bulky box supported on rabbit ears.

His first design for Knoll Associates was the 1946 Grasshopper Chair. Like many of his designs, the chair – which really does recall the hind legs of the hopping bug – is declarative in its aspirations to delight and comfort. His refined 1958 Pedestal series of "one-legged" tables and chairs was envisioned as an antidote to, in Saarinen's view, the "slum of legs." An extended rest on one of the Pedestal stools arranged in the MODA gallery illustrates the remarkable physical solidity and visual delicacy of his designs.

Saarinen's furniture is at once elegant (especially by today's overstuffed, king-sized standards) and blessedly sturdy, crafted from the polyester resin and molded plywood originally used in military aircraft and ships.

Like the virtually airborne roof of the TWA terminal, Saarinen's designs suggest movement and energy, forms ready and willing to spring into action and accommodate any human desire to recline, recreate or otherwise take a load off. Through his collaborations with Knoll Associates, helmed by family friend Florence Knoll and her husband, Hans, Saarinen was able to inject his modernism into daily life in the many corporate environments Knoll helped shape.

Most of Saarinen's legacy has been consolidated in one of two MODA gallery spaces. A white raised runway highlights some of Saarinen's iconic chair designs like divas on the catwalk. A number of the pieces flanking the runway and still in production by Knoll can be tested out.

Designs for Everyday Living tells Saarinen's story probably too tersely, in family and professional photographs and a timeline that sets his personal achievements against historical ones. For instance, the same year Saarinen graduated from high school, in 1929, the Museum of Modern Art opened, suggesting that 20th-century American modernity and this Finnish immigrant were on parallel courses.

Where things get hairy is in MODA's second downstairs gallery, a crass temple to Knoll. Entering the space feels like walking into a catalog in three dimensions. That showroom feeling is reaffirmed by a stack of Knoll catalogs – viewers are encouraged to take one – offering designs by Saarinen, Marcel Breuer, Mies van der Rohe and other modernists that Knoll still manufactures.

Viewers can sit on one of Saarinen's Pedestal stools and watch a video of Florence Knoll preaching the Knoll philosophy in corporate koans such as "good design is good business."

Design has often had problems being accepted as an art form in its own right, because of its ties to the marketplace. This exhibition does no service to Saarinen's innovative designs by presenting the Saarinen exhibition as a soft-pedaled sales pitch. The entire exhibition feels, to use current parlance, "branded" in the extreme, a bright orange "Knoll" logo stamped on Saarinen's forehead.

The Museum of Design, of course, relies on sponsors to finance its exhibitions. But Designs for Everyday Living suggests MODA could stand to put some of them on a much shorter leash or risk turning the space into a high-end gift shop. What can result when the sponsor's presence is allowed to intrude unchecked is an undermining of the individual identity of the talent under consideration. There is the unpleasant sensation of being marketed to rather than enlightened."
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Saarinen could do steel and glass, as seen in his sleek, classically modernist design for the General Motors Technical Center. But he could also do lush and curvy, as in his TWA terminal at John F. Kennedy International Airport.

The terminal's swooping concrete-shell exterior and melting interior invite every possible international jet-set, sci-fi allusion, to "The Jetsons" and the supergroovy architecture of Stanley Kubrick's ''2001: A Space Odyssey''.

Eero immigrated to America with his family in 1923. His architect father Eliel directed the Cranbrook Academy of Art in Michigan, and it was at Cranbrook that Eero met many of his future collaborators, including Charles and Ray Eames and Florence (Schust) Knoll. He studied sculpture at the Academie de la Grande Chaumiere in Paris and architecture at Yale, and his furniture designs suggest an artist-architect love child of form and function.

''The Furniture of Eero Saarinen: Designs for Everyday Living'' at the Museum of Design Atlanta is a look at Saarinen the furniture designer, whose silhouettes have become synonymous with midcentury modernism.

The MODA exhibition features some of Saarinen's most iconic pieces. The 1948 Womb Chair was designed by Saarinen to accommodate a different approach to comfort: the modern tendency to slouch and fold one's body into furniture. With its wide, welcoming berth perched on whimsically spindly legs, the Womb Chair is like an inverted television: a bulky box supported on rabbit ears.

His first design for Knoll Associates was the 1946 Grasshopper Chair. Like many of his designs, the chair – which really does recall the hind legs of the hopping bug – is declarative in its aspirations to delight and comfort. His refined 1958 Pedestal series of "one-legged" tables and chairs was envisioned as an antidote to, in Saarinen's view, the "slum of legs." An extended rest on one of the Pedestal stools arranged in the MODA gallery illustrates the remarkable physical solidity and visual delicacy of his designs.

Saarinen's furniture is at once elegant (especially by today's overstuffed, king-sized standards) and blessedly sturdy, crafted from the polyester resin and molded plywood originally used in military aircraft and ships.

Like the virtually airborne roof of the TWA terminal, Saarinen's designs suggest movement and energy, forms ready and willing to spring into action and accommodate any human desire to recline, recreate or otherwise take a load off. Through his collaborations with Knoll Associates, helmed by family friend Florence Knoll and her husband, Hans, Saarinen was able to inject his modernism into daily life in the many corporate environments Knoll helped shape.

Most of Saarinen's legacy has been consolidated in one of two MODA gallery spaces. A white raised runway highlights some of Saarinen's iconic chair designs like divas on the catwalk. A number of the pieces flanking the runway and still in production by Knoll can be tested out.

''Designs for Everyday Living'' tells Saarinen's story probably too tersely, in family and professional photographs and a timeline that sets his personal achievements against historical ones. For instance, the same year Saarinen graduated from high school, in 1929, the Museum of Modern Art opened, suggesting that 20th-century American modernity and this Finnish immigrant were on parallel courses.

Where things get hairy is in MODA's second downstairs gallery, a crass temple to Knoll. Entering the space feels like walking into a catalog in three dimensions. That showroom feeling is reaffirmed by a stack of Knoll catalogs – viewers are encouraged to take one – offering designs by Saarinen, Marcel Breuer, Mies van der Rohe and other modernists that Knoll still manufactures.

Viewers can sit on one of Saarinen's Pedestal stools and watch a video of Florence Knoll preaching the Knoll philosophy in corporate koans such as "good design is good business."

Design has often had problems being accepted as an art form in its own right, because of its ties to the marketplace. This exhibition does no service to Saarinen's innovative designs by presenting the Saarinen exhibition as a soft-pedaled sales pitch. The entire exhibition feels, to use current parlance, "branded" in the extreme, a bright orange "Knoll" logo stamped on Saarinen's forehead.

The Museum of Design, of course, relies on sponsors to finance its exhibitions. But ''Designs for Everyday Living'' suggests MODA could stand to put some of them on a much shorter leash or risk turning the space into a high-end gift shop. What can result when the sponsor's presence is allowed to intrude unchecked is an undermining of the individual identity of the talent under consideration. There is the unpleasant sensation of being marketed to rather than enlightened."
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  string(5543) "    MODA exhibit displays an architect's midcentury modernism   2008-02-13T05:04:00+00:00 Eero Saarinen: Sleek streak   Felicia Feaster 1223506 2008-02-13T05:04:00+00:00  The Finnish-born, American-bred architect Eero Saarinen gave America some exceptional architecture: Washington, D.C.'s Dulles International Airport, the St. Louis Gateway Arch, MIT's Kresge Auditorium. Though he was often disparaged in his day for varying his designs rather than adhering to a signature style, Saarinen's iconic billowing, animated forms have come back into favor, acknowledged by architecture scholars and renowned architects from Santiago Calatrava to Frank Gehry.

Saarinen could do steel and glass, as seen in his sleek, classically modernist design for the General Motors Technical Center. But he could also do lush and curvy, as in his TWA terminal at John F. Kennedy International Airport.

The terminal's swooping concrete-shell exterior and melting interior invite every possible international jet-set, sci-fi allusion, to "The Jetsons" and the supergroovy architecture of Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey.

Eero immigrated to America with his family in 1923. His architect father Eliel directed the Cranbrook Academy of Art in Michigan, and it was at Cranbrook that Eero met many of his future collaborators, including Charles and Ray Eames and Florence (Schust) Knoll. He studied sculpture at the Academie de la Grande Chaumiere in Paris and architecture at Yale, and his furniture designs suggest an artist-architect love child of form and function.

The Furniture of Eero Saarinen: Designs for Everyday Living at the Museum of Design Atlanta is a look at Saarinen the furniture designer, whose silhouettes have become synonymous with midcentury modernism.

The MODA exhibition features some of Saarinen's most iconic pieces. The 1948 Womb Chair was designed by Saarinen to accommodate a different approach to comfort: the modern tendency to slouch and fold one's body into furniture. With its wide, welcoming berth perched on whimsically spindly legs, the Womb Chair is like an inverted television: a bulky box supported on rabbit ears.

His first design for Knoll Associates was the 1946 Grasshopper Chair. Like many of his designs, the chair – which really does recall the hind legs of the hopping bug – is declarative in its aspirations to delight and comfort. His refined 1958 Pedestal series of "one-legged" tables and chairs was envisioned as an antidote to, in Saarinen's view, the "slum of legs." An extended rest on one of the Pedestal stools arranged in the MODA gallery illustrates the remarkable physical solidity and visual delicacy of his designs.

Saarinen's furniture is at once elegant (especially by today's overstuffed, king-sized standards) and blessedly sturdy, crafted from the polyester resin and molded plywood originally used in military aircraft and ships.

Like the virtually airborne roof of the TWA terminal, Saarinen's designs suggest movement and energy, forms ready and willing to spring into action and accommodate any human desire to recline, recreate or otherwise take a load off. Through his collaborations with Knoll Associates, helmed by family friend Florence Knoll and her husband, Hans, Saarinen was able to inject his modernism into daily life in the many corporate environments Knoll helped shape.

Most of Saarinen's legacy has been consolidated in one of two MODA gallery spaces. A white raised runway highlights some of Saarinen's iconic chair designs like divas on the catwalk. A number of the pieces flanking the runway and still in production by Knoll can be tested out.

Designs for Everyday Living tells Saarinen's story probably too tersely, in family and professional photographs and a timeline that sets his personal achievements against historical ones. For instance, the same year Saarinen graduated from high school, in 1929, the Museum of Modern Art opened, suggesting that 20th-century American modernity and this Finnish immigrant were on parallel courses.

Where things get hairy is in MODA's second downstairs gallery, a crass temple to Knoll. Entering the space feels like walking into a catalog in three dimensions. That showroom feeling is reaffirmed by a stack of Knoll catalogs – viewers are encouraged to take one – offering designs by Saarinen, Marcel Breuer, Mies van der Rohe and other modernists that Knoll still manufactures.

Viewers can sit on one of Saarinen's Pedestal stools and watch a video of Florence Knoll preaching the Knoll philosophy in corporate koans such as "good design is good business."

Design has often had problems being accepted as an art form in its own right, because of its ties to the marketplace. This exhibition does no service to Saarinen's innovative designs by presenting the Saarinen exhibition as a soft-pedaled sales pitch. The entire exhibition feels, to use current parlance, "branded" in the extreme, a bright orange "Knoll" logo stamped on Saarinen's forehead.

The Museum of Design, of course, relies on sponsors to finance its exhibitions. But Designs for Everyday Living suggests MODA could stand to put some of them on a much shorter leash or risk turning the space into a high-end gift shop. What can result when the sponsor's presence is allowed to intrude unchecked is an undermining of the individual identity of the talent under consideration. There is the unpleasant sensation of being marketed to rather than enlightened.             13026665 1272078                          Eero Saarinen: Sleek streak "
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Article

Wednesday February 13, 2008 12:04 am EST
MODA exhibit displays an architect's midcentury modernism | more...
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  ["title"]=>
  string(31) "Hey, you're hogging the paint!'"
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  string(51) "Atlanta's artist couples learn to share their space"
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  string(5194) "In romantic comedies, couples meet "cutely": their dogs' leashes intertwine or a conversation starts when the bumbling hero spills orange juice on the pretty heroine. The first time Atlanta photographer Matt Haffner met his future wife, fellow artist Laura Bell, it was more like something out of a David Cronenberg movie.

One night, while they were both attending grad school at Philadelphia's Tyler School of Art, Laura watched a head-on car collision unfold from the window of Tyler's print-making department. A familiar bald head was illuminated by the car light.

She thought, "'Oh, that's that guy from my art-history class.' I guess I noticed him at that point."

Now, sitting in their tidy one-story Kirkwood bungalow, Matt nestles their 9-week-old daughter Matilda in the crook of his arm. They offer coffee. Matilda softly coos, as content and mellow as her parents. Domestic bliss radiates.

Matt and Laura, who both teach at Kennesaw State University, each does his and her part to make their home and professional lives run smoothly. Which means that when Laura was recently preparing for her solo exhibition Morphosis of ornate, lacelike paintings at Atlanta's Kiang Gallery (through Feb. 23), Matt was taking care of Matilda, cooking and doing the day-to-day trade-off thing that defines the rhythms of an artist couple's life.

The Haffner-Bells can seem like the Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt of artist coupledom with their progressive approach to shared child care, household duties and support for each other's work. Being a couple in the same profession has obvious advantages: similar nontraditional hours, a shared understanding of the vagaries of the art market, a respect for your partner's life choices. And it also has its challenges.

When so many couples live in separate spheres – at least where their work is concerned – artist couples share not only a career, but similar values and ideas about what constitutes success.

There is "total understanding of the angst and drama," say Atlanta artists and Georgia State University professors Craig Dongoski and Pam Longobardi, in a jointly composed e-mail.

The popular stereotype is more often of mercurial artist couples: Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera, Lee Krasner and Jackson Pollock. But Atlanta artist couples, established or emerging, often suggest a very different reality.

Ann-Marie Manker and Joy Phrasavath have been together for a little more than a year. Having both owned Atlanta alternative galleries (ArtSpot and L'Avenue), they have the kind of quirky kinship that suggests junior-high BFFs. They appear to have achieved art-couple nirvana.

For a recent trip to Paris, they packed coordinated red, white and blue outfits and headed off to the Kara Walker show at the Musée d'Art Moderne, letting their Gallic freak flags fly. They "crashed" last year's Little Five Points Halloween parade dressed as a dead Indian bride and groom wearing a sign that explained "Just Buried."

"Some people might think we are kooky or eccentric, but we are in heaven," Manker says.

Several decades older, painter Mark Sandlin, 50, and his nationally known ceramist wife Red Weldon-Sandlin, 49, give off similar utopian vibes. They are the glowing, sunny, real-life answer to the scary-Scientology perkiness of Cruise and Holmes.

Since meeting in Atlanta in the early 1980s, they have been virtually "inseparable," laughs Red.

She's not kidding. The couple shares a car, a cell phone, an e-mail account, a love of old-fashioned architecture and a desire to be together – a lot. What might be suffocating for other couples is clearly heaven for Red and Mark, who will unveil their collaborative meditation on Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird this April at Inman Park's Whitespace Gallery.

When the larger "straight" world can often be suspicious, even dismissive of people who make art their career, there is a safety and security in spending your life with someone who gets it.

But being an artist couple isn't all pure bliss. Most admit there are unique challenges, too.

"We do both have the same depressions and anxieties about feeling good about our work or worrying that we're not going to have another show," Laura Bell says.

Jiha Moon and Andy Moon Wilson met in 1999 at University of Iowa graduate school. A sought-after conceptual artist whose paintings combine Eastern and Western elements, Jiha's work can be seen through Feb. 22 at Saltworks Gallery.

There are risks in allowing too much melding of careers, as Jiha discovered when she curated her husband Andy in a Washington, D.C., art show in 2006. Jessica Dawson, writing in the Washington Post, said, "When it comes to nepotism, the best strategy is to avoid it."

"I am currently in a show at her gallery in New York," Andy says, "but I doubt they'll ask to represent me. There is a danger that I'll be accused of riding on Jiha's coattails, because she is such a star, and I'm still flying under the radar."

But in the end, there is something to be said for the eccentric connections that define these relationships, too. Even the problems can seem quaint.

"Normal couples don't fight about color," Andy says. "Only artists do that.""
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  string(5206) "In romantic comedies, couples meet "cutely": their dogs' leashes intertwine or a conversation starts when the bumbling hero spills orange juice on the pretty heroine. The first time Atlanta photographer Matt Haffner met his future wife, fellow artist Laura Bell, it was more like something out of a David Cronenberg movie.

One night, while they were both attending grad school at Philadelphia's Tyler School of Art, Laura watched a head-on car collision unfold from the window of Tyler's print-making department. A familiar bald head was illuminated by the car light.

She thought, "'Oh, that's that guy from my art-history class.' I guess I noticed him at that point."

Now, sitting in their tidy one-story Kirkwood bungalow, Matt nestles their 9-week-old daughter Matilda in the crook of his arm. They offer coffee. Matilda softly coos, as content and mellow as her parents. Domestic bliss radiates.

Matt and Laura, who both teach at Kennesaw State University, each does his and her part to make their home and professional lives run smoothly. Which means that when Laura was recently preparing for her solo exhibition ''Morphosis'' of ornate, lacelike paintings at Atlanta's Kiang Gallery (through Feb. 23), Matt was taking care of Matilda, cooking and doing the day-to-day trade-off thing that defines the rhythms of an artist couple's life.

The Haffner-Bells can seem like the Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt of artist coupledom with their progressive approach to shared child care, household duties and support for each other's work. Being a couple in the same profession has obvious advantages: similar nontraditional hours, a shared understanding of the vagaries of the art market, a respect for your partner's life choices. And it also has its challenges.

When so many couples live in separate spheres – at least where their work is concerned – artist couples share not only a career, but similar values and ideas about what constitutes success.

There is "total understanding of the angst and drama," say Atlanta artists and Georgia State University professors Craig Dongoski and Pam Longobardi, in a jointly composed e-mail.

The popular stereotype is more often of mercurial artist couples: Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera, Lee Krasner and Jackson Pollock. But Atlanta artist couples, established or emerging, often suggest a very different reality.

Ann-Marie Manker and Joy Phrasavath have been together for a little more than a year. Having both owned Atlanta alternative galleries (ArtSpot and L'Avenue), they have the kind of quirky kinship that suggests junior-high BFFs. They appear to have achieved art-couple nirvana.

For a recent trip to Paris, they packed coordinated red, white and blue outfits and headed off to the Kara Walker show at the Musée d'Art Moderne, letting their Gallic freak flags fly. They "crashed" last year's Little Five Points Halloween parade dressed as a dead Indian bride and groom wearing a sign that explained "Just Buried."

"Some people might think we are kooky or eccentric, but we are in heaven," Manker says.

Several decades older, painter Mark Sandlin, 50, and his nationally known ceramist wife Red Weldon-Sandlin, 49, give off similar utopian vibes. They are the glowing, sunny, real-life answer to the scary-Scientology perkiness of Cruise and Holmes.

Since meeting in Atlanta in the early 1980s, they have been virtually "inseparable," laughs Red.

She's not kidding. The couple shares a car, a cell phone, an e-mail account, a love of old-fashioned architecture and a desire to be together – a lot. What might be suffocating for other couples is clearly heaven for Red and Mark, who will unveil their collaborative meditation on Harper Lee's ''To Kill a Mockingbird'' this April at Inman Park's Whitespace Gallery.

When the larger "straight" world can often be suspicious, even dismissive of people who make art their career, there is a safety and security in spending your life with someone who gets it.

But being an artist couple isn't all pure bliss. Most admit there are unique challenges, too.

"We do both have the same depressions and anxieties about feeling good about our work or worrying that we're not going to have another show," Laura Bell says.

Jiha Moon and Andy Moon Wilson met in 1999 at University of Iowa graduate school. A sought-after conceptual artist whose paintings combine Eastern and Western elements, Jiha's work can be seen through Feb. 22 at Saltworks Gallery.

There are risks in allowing too much melding of careers, as Jiha discovered when she curated her husband Andy in a Washington, D.C., art show in 2006. Jessica Dawson, writing in the ''Washington Post'', said, "When it comes to nepotism, the best strategy is to avoid it."

"I am currently in a show at her gallery in New York," Andy says, "but I doubt they'll ask to represent me. There is a danger that I'll be accused of riding on Jiha's coattails, because she is such a star, and I'm still flying under the radar."

But in the end, there is something to be said for the eccentric connections that define these relationships, too. Even the problems can seem quaint.

"Normal couples don't fight about color," Andy says. "Only artists do that.""
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  string(5450) "    Atlanta's artist couples learn to share their space   2008-02-06T05:04:00+00:00 Hey, you're hogging the paint!'   Felicia Feaster 1223506 2008-02-06T05:04:00+00:00  In romantic comedies, couples meet "cutely": their dogs' leashes intertwine or a conversation starts when the bumbling hero spills orange juice on the pretty heroine. The first time Atlanta photographer Matt Haffner met his future wife, fellow artist Laura Bell, it was more like something out of a David Cronenberg movie.

One night, while they were both attending grad school at Philadelphia's Tyler School of Art, Laura watched a head-on car collision unfold from the window of Tyler's print-making department. A familiar bald head was illuminated by the car light.

She thought, "'Oh, that's that guy from my art-history class.' I guess I noticed him at that point."

Now, sitting in their tidy one-story Kirkwood bungalow, Matt nestles their 9-week-old daughter Matilda in the crook of his arm. They offer coffee. Matilda softly coos, as content and mellow as her parents. Domestic bliss radiates.

Matt and Laura, who both teach at Kennesaw State University, each does his and her part to make their home and professional lives run smoothly. Which means that when Laura was recently preparing for her solo exhibition Morphosis of ornate, lacelike paintings at Atlanta's Kiang Gallery (through Feb. 23), Matt was taking care of Matilda, cooking and doing the day-to-day trade-off thing that defines the rhythms of an artist couple's life.

The Haffner-Bells can seem like the Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt of artist coupledom with their progressive approach to shared child care, household duties and support for each other's work. Being a couple in the same profession has obvious advantages: similar nontraditional hours, a shared understanding of the vagaries of the art market, a respect for your partner's life choices. And it also has its challenges.

When so many couples live in separate spheres – at least where their work is concerned – artist couples share not only a career, but similar values and ideas about what constitutes success.

There is "total understanding of the angst and drama," say Atlanta artists and Georgia State University professors Craig Dongoski and Pam Longobardi, in a jointly composed e-mail.

The popular stereotype is more often of mercurial artist couples: Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera, Lee Krasner and Jackson Pollock. But Atlanta artist couples, established or emerging, often suggest a very different reality.

Ann-Marie Manker and Joy Phrasavath have been together for a little more than a year. Having both owned Atlanta alternative galleries (ArtSpot and L'Avenue), they have the kind of quirky kinship that suggests junior-high BFFs. They appear to have achieved art-couple nirvana.

For a recent trip to Paris, they packed coordinated red, white and blue outfits and headed off to the Kara Walker show at the Musée d'Art Moderne, letting their Gallic freak flags fly. They "crashed" last year's Little Five Points Halloween parade dressed as a dead Indian bride and groom wearing a sign that explained "Just Buried."

"Some people might think we are kooky or eccentric, but we are in heaven," Manker says.

Several decades older, painter Mark Sandlin, 50, and his nationally known ceramist wife Red Weldon-Sandlin, 49, give off similar utopian vibes. They are the glowing, sunny, real-life answer to the scary-Scientology perkiness of Cruise and Holmes.

Since meeting in Atlanta in the early 1980s, they have been virtually "inseparable," laughs Red.

She's not kidding. The couple shares a car, a cell phone, an e-mail account, a love of old-fashioned architecture and a desire to be together – a lot. What might be suffocating for other couples is clearly heaven for Red and Mark, who will unveil their collaborative meditation on Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird this April at Inman Park's Whitespace Gallery.

When the larger "straight" world can often be suspicious, even dismissive of people who make art their career, there is a safety and security in spending your life with someone who gets it.

But being an artist couple isn't all pure bliss. Most admit there are unique challenges, too.

"We do both have the same depressions and anxieties about feeling good about our work or worrying that we're not going to have another show," Laura Bell says.

Jiha Moon and Andy Moon Wilson met in 1999 at University of Iowa graduate school. A sought-after conceptual artist whose paintings combine Eastern and Western elements, Jiha's work can be seen through Feb. 22 at Saltworks Gallery.

There are risks in allowing too much melding of careers, as Jiha discovered when she curated her husband Andy in a Washington, D.C., art show in 2006. Jessica Dawson, writing in the Washington Post, said, "When it comes to nepotism, the best strategy is to avoid it."

"I am currently in a show at her gallery in New York," Andy says, "but I doubt they'll ask to represent me. There is a danger that I'll be accused of riding on Jiha's coattails, because she is such a star, and I'm still flying under the radar."

But in the end, there is something to be said for the eccentric connections that define these relationships, too. Even the problems can seem quaint.

"Normal couples don't fight about color," Andy says. "Only artists do that."             13026627 1271993                          Hey, you're hogging the paint!' "
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Wednesday February 6, 2008 12:04 am EST
Atlanta's artist couples learn to share their space | more...
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  string(2649) "Smoking, global warming and ecological activism. The interests of artists Laura Noel, Peter Essick and Julie Stuart range from the puny to the supersized. But this particular combination of artists with often vaguely related work makes the Spruill Gallery curator's objective mysterious: Are we meant to look at these projects in isolation or in relation to each other? In either case, the show lacks harmony and verve.

The miniaturist of the bunch, Noel's project Deliver Me features photographs of people, many of them twentysomethings, engaged in the socially unacceptable act of smoking. That vice forces them to the literal margins of society, to back yards, front porches and other pariah stomping grounds. Noel's portraits tend to be most interesting in capturing the peculiarities of her subjects' world, like the froufrou bedroom where "Tina" smokes, reads and drinks in bed. Tina's slightly hardened appearance contrasts interestingly with the übergirly trappings such as the floral bedspread and luxuriously swaged drapery behind her.

Though Peter Essick lives in Stone Mountain, his photojournalism career has taken him around the globe. Many of the color images on view in Global Warming are drawn from a 2004 National Geographic whose cover story headline screamed, "Global Warning." Taken in Peru and the Swiss Alps, Bangladesh and Alaska, Essick's images illustrate the vast problem of global warming seen in rising oceans, higher temperatures and endangered species. His predominant subjects are landscapes, many captured at sunset and marked by washes of molten red and orange that drive home the idea of Earth as an increasingly infernal hothouse.

If Essick's work tends toward the instructive, then Julie Stuart's installation Full Circle is intuitive, the ardent message carved into a tree rather than written up in a case study.

On the gallery walls Stuart has hung black-and-white photo transfers of nature. Text also printed on those frosted Plexiglas panels urges a respectful, care-taking approach to the planet. The mood is somber, the air fragrant with the satisfying funk of the dead leaves that ornament the gallery. Viewers are encouraged to add their own valentines to Mother Earth.

Stuart's fervent, emotional plea for rescuing our beleaguered planet may strike some as painfully hippie-crunchy and flowery. It will undoubtedly feel earnest to others. I found it both; at times unbearably stilted and at other times heartfelt.

Artwork by Peter Essick, Laura Noel and Julie Stuart. Through Feb. 23. Free. Wed.-Sat., 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Spruill Gallery, 4681 Ashford Dunwoody Road. 770-394-4019. www.spruillarts.org."
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The miniaturist of the bunch, Noel's project ''Deliver Me'' features photographs of people, many of them twentysomethings, engaged in the socially unacceptable act of smoking. That vice forces them to the literal margins of society, to back yards, front porches and other pariah stomping grounds. Noel's portraits tend to be most interesting in capturing the peculiarities of her subjects' world, like the froufrou bedroom where "Tina" smokes, reads and drinks in bed. Tina's slightly hardened appearance contrasts interestingly with the übergirly trappings such as the floral bedspread and luxuriously swaged drapery behind her.

Though Peter Essick lives in Stone Mountain, his photojournalism career has taken him around the globe. Many of the color images on view in ''Global Warming'' are drawn from a 2004 ''National Geographic'' whose cover story headline screamed, "Global Warning." Taken in Peru and the Swiss Alps, Bangladesh and Alaska, Essick's images illustrate the vast problem of global warming seen in rising oceans, higher temperatures and endangered species. His predominant subjects are landscapes, many captured at sunset and marked by washes of molten red and orange that drive home the idea of Earth as an increasingly infernal hothouse.

If Essick's work tends toward the instructive, then Julie Stuart's installation ''Full Circle'' is intuitive, the ardent message carved into a tree rather than written up in a case study.

On the gallery walls Stuart has hung black-and-white photo transfers of nature. Text also printed on those frosted Plexiglas panels urges a respectful, care-taking approach to the planet. The mood is somber, the air fragrant with the satisfying funk of the dead leaves that ornament the gallery. Viewers are encouraged to add their own valentines to Mother Earth.

Stuart's fervent, emotional plea for rescuing our beleaguered planet may strike some as painfully hippie-crunchy and flowery. It will undoubtedly feel earnest to others. I found it both; at times unbearably stilted and at other times heartfelt.

Artwork by Peter Essick, Laura Noel and Julie Stuart. ''Through Feb. 23. Free. Wed.-Sat., 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Spruill Gallery, 4681 Ashford Dunwoody Road. 770-394-4019. [http://www.spruillarts.org/|www.spruillarts.org].''"
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The miniaturist of the bunch, Noel's project Deliver Me features photographs of people, many of them twentysomethings, engaged in the socially unacceptable act of smoking. That vice forces them to the literal margins of society, to back yards, front porches and other pariah stomping grounds. Noel's portraits tend to be most interesting in capturing the peculiarities of her subjects' world, like the froufrou bedroom where "Tina" smokes, reads and drinks in bed. Tina's slightly hardened appearance contrasts interestingly with the übergirly trappings such as the floral bedspread and luxuriously swaged drapery behind her.

Though Peter Essick lives in Stone Mountain, his photojournalism career has taken him around the globe. Many of the color images on view in Global Warming are drawn from a 2004 National Geographic whose cover story headline screamed, "Global Warning." Taken in Peru and the Swiss Alps, Bangladesh and Alaska, Essick's images illustrate the vast problem of global warming seen in rising oceans, higher temperatures and endangered species. His predominant subjects are landscapes, many captured at sunset and marked by washes of molten red and orange that drive home the idea of Earth as an increasingly infernal hothouse.

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Stuart's fervent, emotional plea for rescuing our beleaguered planet may strike some as painfully hippie-crunchy and flowery. It will undoubtedly feel earnest to others. I found it both; at times unbearably stilted and at other times heartfelt.

Artwork by Peter Essick, Laura Noel and Julie Stuart. Through Feb. 23. Free. Wed.-Sat., 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Spruill Gallery, 4681 Ashford Dunwoody Road. 770-394-4019. www.spruillarts.org.             13026563 1271862                          Spruill Gallery: Earth first? "
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Wednesday January 30, 2008 12:04 am EST
Group show lacks harmony and verve | more...
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  string(5062) "Robert Sherer has blood on his hands. It is his blood. And it is the blood of his friends.

He always asks before he takes it.

And like the undeniably hypnotic patter of Count Dracula seducing his victims to lend him their necks, Sherer is very persuasive. Eventually his friends and colleagues give in.

In our culture of "CSI" and lurid TV news, Sherer's bloodletting might conjure up images of serial killers and satanists. But Sherer isn't a ghoul. In truth, with his groomed beard and retro glasses, Sherer, a very boyish 50, looks like a 21st-century spin on a '50s beatnik, albeit with a lush, lazy Southern drawl.

Sherer discovered the possibilities of blood in 1998 when he struck gold in his own thigh, courtesy of an X-Acto knife accident. The ensuing gush set off a light bulb.

"I quickly collected the squirting liquid in a hermetic container and placed it in the refrigerator." Later Sherer began using the blood, dabbed from a quill, to paint. It took him about a year and a half to come up with the right combination of blood thinners and varnishes.

He indicates a painting titled "Disarmament" from 1999 featuring oily, coffee-colored splatters of blood exploding like paint pellets on the paper, "I hadn't even worked out the chemistry yet," he observes of a process of chemical experimentation that eventually led him to the more satisfyingly visceral sepia reds of today.

These days Sherer's fridge is filled with blood: "I realized it's like a cemetery. You see the names of my friends and their life essence in these vials.

"Very kind of creepy."

The paintings in Blood Works: Portraits of Love and Loss in the Age of AIDS, on view at Kennesaw State University Fine Arts Gallery, are romantic, heady, creepy and cautionary. Sherer sees his works, which use both HIV-positive and -negative blood, in some ways as parables, cautionary tales about love and lust. In the delicate but deadly modern morality of Sherer's blood paintings, there are toxic bachelors and delusional virgins. The work is about "the complexities of romantic life," he says. Like decapitation.

In "Ain't Love Grand," a female praying mantis decapitates her mate during sex. Flora and fauna are used to demonstrate Sherer's by turns jaundiced and amused vision of contemporary romance. The locusts and thorned roses tell dark tales of AIDS and the perils of entrusting your heart and genitals to handsome strangers. His work is often a commentary on the deceptiveness of appearances, like "Encounters," where pollinating bumblebees have been painted with both HIV-positive and HIV-negative blood.

"I've had several people come to me and say" – Sherer's voice drops to a conspiratorial whisper – "this is the positive insect."

Sherer's Blood Works is the outgrowth of his art-world education at the Rhode Island School of Design and the Atlanta College of Art, and a small, sanguine subgenre of artists such as Marc Quinn and Andres Serrano, who have incorporated blood into their work.

But while the conceptual thrust of Sherer's art comes courtesy of the Rhode Island School of Design and the Atlanta College of Art, his point of view is equally informed by a Southern childhood growing up in the small farming community of Jasper, Ala., where his female relatives taught him about pruning and cultivating God's verdant bounty.

"Both of my grandmothers were these Southern ladies. Their aesthetic was Victorian," he says. With their oval and antique wooden frames, Sherer's blood works reference matronly domesticity: samplers and needlepoint and other lovely homemade objects hung in living rooms. Sherer uses those pretty, ladylike frames as ironic contrast to his bloody tales of sexual predation and corrupted innocence.

Though AIDS has dropped from the front page, Sherer hopes his artwork will remind people of its ongoing relevance.

"I hope I'm keeping the issue on the front burner," he says. "Anyone who thinks the AIDS crisis is over is very sorely mistaken. It is destroying Africa and India."

As an associate professor of drawing and painting at Kennesaw State University, Sherer says he's still shocked by the sexual adventurousness and sense of immortality demonstrated by his heterosexual college students. The HIV-positive blood Sherer uses is sourced from a heterosexual friend whose husband brought it home as evidence of his extramarital exploits.

Despite the declining newsworthiness of AIDS in the age of Britney, the notion of HIV-positive blood still has the power to shock. "There's that visceral fear that the HIV can jump off the picture and get them," Sherer says of how he's watched some viewers recoil from his pleasant images of birds and bees when they read the wall text describing their genesis.

Something about the medium, and the bloodletting involved, seems to compel people. It is universal, but also very particular. Sherer's work speaks to the sacrificial dimension to art-making, and how a lifetime of bloodsucking one's own feelings, relationships and experience is a kind of emotional bleeding all its own."
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He always asks before he takes it.

And like the undeniably hypnotic patter of Count Dracula seducing his victims to lend him their necks, Sherer is very persuasive. Eventually his friends and colleagues give in.

In our culture of "CSI" and lurid TV news, Sherer's bloodletting might conjure up images of serial killers and satanists. But Sherer isn't a ghoul. In truth, with his groomed beard and retro glasses, Sherer, a very boyish 50, looks like a 21st-century spin on a '50s beatnik, albeit with a lush, lazy Southern drawl.

Sherer discovered the possibilities of blood in 1998 when he struck gold in his own thigh, courtesy of an X-Acto knife accident. The ensuing gush set off a light bulb.

"I quickly collected the squirting liquid in a hermetic container and placed it in the refrigerator." Later Sherer began using the blood, dabbed from a quill, to paint. It took him about a year and a half to come up with the right combination of blood thinners and varnishes.

He indicates a painting titled "Disarmament" from 1999 featuring oily, coffee-colored splatters of blood exploding like paint pellets on the paper, "I hadn't even worked out the chemistry yet," he observes of a process of chemical experimentation that eventually led him to the more satisfyingly visceral sepia reds of today.

These days Sherer's fridge is filled with blood: "I realized it's like a cemetery. You see the names of my friends and their life essence in these vials.

"Very kind of creepy."

The paintings in ''Blood Works: Portraits of Love and Loss in the Age of AIDS'', on view at Kennesaw State University Fine Arts Gallery, are romantic, heady, creepy and cautionary. Sherer sees his works, which use both HIV-positive and -negative blood, in some ways as parables, cautionary tales about love and lust. In the delicate but deadly modern morality of Sherer's blood paintings, there are toxic bachelors and delusional virgins. The work is about "the complexities of romantic life," he says. Like decapitation.

In "Ain't Love Grand," a female praying mantis decapitates her mate during sex. Flora and fauna are used to demonstrate Sherer's by turns jaundiced and amused vision of contemporary romance. The locusts and thorned roses tell dark tales of AIDS and the perils of entrusting your heart and genitals to handsome strangers. His work is often a commentary on the deceptiveness of appearances, like "Encounters," where pollinating bumblebees have been painted with both HIV-positive and HIV-negative blood.

"I've had several people come to me and say" – Sherer's voice drops to a conspiratorial whisper – "this is the ''positive'' insect."

Sherer's ''Blood Works'' is the outgrowth of his art-world education at the Rhode Island School of Design and the Atlanta College of Art, and a small, sanguine subgenre of artists such as Marc Quinn and Andres Serrano, who have incorporated blood into their work.

But while the conceptual thrust of Sherer's art comes courtesy of the Rhode Island School of Design and the Atlanta College of Art, his point of view is equally informed by a Southern childhood growing up in the small farming community of Jasper, Ala., where his female relatives taught him about pruning and cultivating God's verdant bounty.

"Both of my grandmothers were these Southern ladies. Their aesthetic was Victorian," he says. With their oval and antique wooden frames, Sherer's blood works reference matronly domesticity: samplers and needlepoint and other lovely homemade objects hung in living rooms. Sherer uses those pretty, ladylike frames as ironic contrast to his bloody tales of sexual predation and corrupted innocence.

Though AIDS has dropped from the front page, Sherer hopes his artwork will remind people of its ongoing relevance.

"I hope I'm keeping the issue on the front burner," he says. "Anyone who thinks the AIDS crisis is over is very sorely mistaken. It is destroying Africa and India."

As an associate professor of drawing and painting at Kennesaw State University, Sherer says he's still shocked by the sexual adventurousness and sense of immortality demonstrated by his heterosexual college students. The HIV-positive blood Sherer uses is sourced from a heterosexual friend whose husband brought it home as evidence of his extramarital exploits.

Despite the declining newsworthiness of AIDS in the age of Britney, the notion of HIV-positive blood still has the power to shock. "There's that visceral fear that the HIV can jump off the picture and get them," Sherer says of how he's watched some viewers recoil from his pleasant images of birds and bees when they read the wall text describing their genesis.

Something about the medium, and the bloodletting involved, seems to compel people. It is universal, but also very particular. Sherer's work speaks to the sacrificial dimension to art-making, and how a lifetime of bloodsucking one's own feelings, relationships and experience is a kind of emotional bleeding all its own."
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  string(5306) "    Kennesaw State prof's art is colored in crimson   2008-01-30T05:04:00+00:00 Robert Sherer: Let it bleed   Felicia Feaster 1223506 2008-01-30T05:04:00+00:00  Robert Sherer has blood on his hands. It is his blood. And it is the blood of his friends.

He always asks before he takes it.

And like the undeniably hypnotic patter of Count Dracula seducing his victims to lend him their necks, Sherer is very persuasive. Eventually his friends and colleagues give in.

In our culture of "CSI" and lurid TV news, Sherer's bloodletting might conjure up images of serial killers and satanists. But Sherer isn't a ghoul. In truth, with his groomed beard and retro glasses, Sherer, a very boyish 50, looks like a 21st-century spin on a '50s beatnik, albeit with a lush, lazy Southern drawl.

Sherer discovered the possibilities of blood in 1998 when he struck gold in his own thigh, courtesy of an X-Acto knife accident. The ensuing gush set off a light bulb.

"I quickly collected the squirting liquid in a hermetic container and placed it in the refrigerator." Later Sherer began using the blood, dabbed from a quill, to paint. It took him about a year and a half to come up with the right combination of blood thinners and varnishes.

He indicates a painting titled "Disarmament" from 1999 featuring oily, coffee-colored splatters of blood exploding like paint pellets on the paper, "I hadn't even worked out the chemistry yet," he observes of a process of chemical experimentation that eventually led him to the more satisfyingly visceral sepia reds of today.

These days Sherer's fridge is filled with blood: "I realized it's like a cemetery. You see the names of my friends and their life essence in these vials.

"Very kind of creepy."

The paintings in Blood Works: Portraits of Love and Loss in the Age of AIDS, on view at Kennesaw State University Fine Arts Gallery, are romantic, heady, creepy and cautionary. Sherer sees his works, which use both HIV-positive and -negative blood, in some ways as parables, cautionary tales about love and lust. In the delicate but deadly modern morality of Sherer's blood paintings, there are toxic bachelors and delusional virgins. The work is about "the complexities of romantic life," he says. Like decapitation.

In "Ain't Love Grand," a female praying mantis decapitates her mate during sex. Flora and fauna are used to demonstrate Sherer's by turns jaundiced and amused vision of contemporary romance. The locusts and thorned roses tell dark tales of AIDS and the perils of entrusting your heart and genitals to handsome strangers. His work is often a commentary on the deceptiveness of appearances, like "Encounters," where pollinating bumblebees have been painted with both HIV-positive and HIV-negative blood.

"I've had several people come to me and say" – Sherer's voice drops to a conspiratorial whisper – "this is the positive insect."

Sherer's Blood Works is the outgrowth of his art-world education at the Rhode Island School of Design and the Atlanta College of Art, and a small, sanguine subgenre of artists such as Marc Quinn and Andres Serrano, who have incorporated blood into their work.

But while the conceptual thrust of Sherer's art comes courtesy of the Rhode Island School of Design and the Atlanta College of Art, his point of view is equally informed by a Southern childhood growing up in the small farming community of Jasper, Ala., where his female relatives taught him about pruning and cultivating God's verdant bounty.

"Both of my grandmothers were these Southern ladies. Their aesthetic was Victorian," he says. With their oval and antique wooden frames, Sherer's blood works reference matronly domesticity: samplers and needlepoint and other lovely homemade objects hung in living rooms. Sherer uses those pretty, ladylike frames as ironic contrast to his bloody tales of sexual predation and corrupted innocence.

Though AIDS has dropped from the front page, Sherer hopes his artwork will remind people of its ongoing relevance.

"I hope I'm keeping the issue on the front burner," he says. "Anyone who thinks the AIDS crisis is over is very sorely mistaken. It is destroying Africa and India."

As an associate professor of drawing and painting at Kennesaw State University, Sherer says he's still shocked by the sexual adventurousness and sense of immortality demonstrated by his heterosexual college students. The HIV-positive blood Sherer uses is sourced from a heterosexual friend whose husband brought it home as evidence of his extramarital exploits.

Despite the declining newsworthiness of AIDS in the age of Britney, the notion of HIV-positive blood still has the power to shock. "There's that visceral fear that the HIV can jump off the picture and get them," Sherer says of how he's watched some viewers recoil from his pleasant images of birds and bees when they read the wall text describing their genesis.

Something about the medium, and the bloodletting involved, seems to compel people. It is universal, but also very particular. Sherer's work speaks to the sacrificial dimension to art-making, and how a lifetime of bloodsucking one's own feelings, relationships and experience is a kind of emotional bleeding all its own.             13026547 1271813                          Robert Sherer: Let it bleed "
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Wednesday January 30, 2008 12:04 am EST
Kennesaw State prof's art is colored in crimson | more...

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  string(2695) "For a time in the 1990s, the word "hybridity" was the kind of academic buzzword that burned up the tenure circuit. Hybridity attested to identity that was fluid, complex and not easily boiled down to one "essence."

Well, Jiha Moon's paintings are hybrid and then some, influenced by East and West, drawing and painting, the ancient and the modern. And Moon's solo show at Saltworks Gallery combines wildly different moods, too. Wry and solemn, reserved and mischievous, it would be an understatement to say there's a lot going on in the work. The Atlanta-based artist's cultural references come fast and furious, and encompass modern animation, traditional handmade Korean hanji paper, anime, ancient Asian art, geishas, dragons, telecommunications, gossamer ribbon and Disney blue birds.

And then there is that icon known to all residents of the Peach State: the lurid peach with the sexual split down its back. It is clear, from looking at Moon's paintings, that she is a woman whose interests lie in dynamism and seeing the connections, rather than the differences between past and present. The ghosts of Salvador Dalí, Inka Essenhigh and Snow White and the Seven Dwarves are all in the house.

Moon's scenes are often painted on a windshield-shaped, fan form that telegraphs her interest in the traditional. Exceedingly subtle and dreamlike, her imagery emerges from a soft, watery backdrop like the vague fog of history. But her foregrounds are dominated by punk-rock hues: acid green, turquoise and a shade of hot pink rarely found outside of a can or tube. Strange forms emerge from her paintings: organ shapes in blood red, pink nipples, tumescent clouds and cute-sexy-strange metamorphosing forms that play with our desire for representation.

Eyes, sharp-fanged mouths and absurdly elongated tongues emerge out of that painterly ether like film-noir fatales stepping out of the waterfront fog. Moon's works straddle two worlds, one ancient and one contemporary, but their most intriguing quality is their refusal to decamp in either one.

Instead, there is mystery and a sense of flux and constant change even within these static pieces. In one work, Moon has taken the natural next step in her fluid, mutating paintings, of allowing her tendrils and bamboo leaves to bleed from her paintings onto the gallery walls.

But in many ways that spillage of the paint onto the walls is unnecessary: It is clear there is chaos and growth and a barely contained energy lurking in all of her work.

No Peach Heaven: MuRungDowan. New Works by Jiha Moon. Through Feb. 22. Free. Sat., 11 a.m.-6 p.m. and by appointment. Saltworks Gallery, 635 Angier Ave. 404-876-8000. www.saltworksgallery.com."
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  string(2738) "For a time in the 1990s, the word "hybridity" was the kind of academic buzzword that burned up the tenure circuit. Hybridity attested to identity that was fluid, complex and not easily boiled down to one "essence."

Well, Jiha Moon's paintings are hybrid and then some, influenced by East and West, drawing and painting, the ancient and the modern. And Moon's solo show at Saltworks Gallery combines wildly different moods, too. Wry and solemn, reserved and mischievous, it would be an understatement to say there's a lot going on in the work. The Atlanta-based artist's cultural references come fast and furious, and encompass modern animation, traditional handmade Korean hanji paper, anime, ancient Asian art, geishas, dragons, telecommunications, gossamer ribbon and Disney blue birds.

And then there is that icon known to all residents of the Peach State: the lurid peach with the sexual split down its back. It is clear, from looking at Moon's paintings, that she is a woman whose interests lie in dynamism and seeing the connections, rather than the differences between past and present. The ghosts of Salvador Dalí, Inka Essenhigh and ''Snow White and the Seven Dwarves'' are all in the house.

Moon's scenes are often painted on a windshield-shaped, fan form that telegraphs her interest in the traditional. Exceedingly subtle and dreamlike, her imagery emerges from a soft, watery backdrop like the vague fog of history. But her foregrounds are dominated by punk-rock hues: acid green, turquoise and a shade of hot pink rarely found outside of a can or tube. Strange forms emerge from her paintings: organ shapes in blood red, pink nipples, tumescent clouds and cute-sexy-strange metamorphosing forms that play with our desire for representation.

Eyes, sharp-fanged mouths and absurdly elongated tongues emerge out of that painterly ether like film-noir fatales stepping out of the waterfront fog. Moon's works straddle two worlds, one ancient and one contemporary, but their most intriguing quality is their refusal to decamp in either one.

Instead, there is mystery and a sense of flux and constant change even within these static pieces. In one work, Moon has taken the natural next step in her fluid, mutating paintings, of allowing her tendrils and bamboo leaves to bleed from her paintings onto the gallery walls.

But in many ways that spillage of the paint onto the walls is unnecessary: It is clear there is chaos and growth and a barely contained energy lurking in all of her work.

No Peach Heaven: MuRungDowan. New Works by Jiha Moon. ''Through Feb. 22. Free. Sat., 11 a.m.-6 p.m. and by appointment. Saltworks Gallery, 635 Angier Ave. 404-876-8000. [http://www.saltworksgallery.com/|www.saltworksgallery.com].''"
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  string(2922) "    Saltworks exhibition offers a state of grace   2008-01-23T05:04:00+00:00 Jiha Moon: Peach pit   Felicia Feaster 1223506 2008-01-23T05:04:00+00:00  For a time in the 1990s, the word "hybridity" was the kind of academic buzzword that burned up the tenure circuit. Hybridity attested to identity that was fluid, complex and not easily boiled down to one "essence."

Well, Jiha Moon's paintings are hybrid and then some, influenced by East and West, drawing and painting, the ancient and the modern. And Moon's solo show at Saltworks Gallery combines wildly different moods, too. Wry and solemn, reserved and mischievous, it would be an understatement to say there's a lot going on in the work. The Atlanta-based artist's cultural references come fast and furious, and encompass modern animation, traditional handmade Korean hanji paper, anime, ancient Asian art, geishas, dragons, telecommunications, gossamer ribbon and Disney blue birds.

And then there is that icon known to all residents of the Peach State: the lurid peach with the sexual split down its back. It is clear, from looking at Moon's paintings, that she is a woman whose interests lie in dynamism and seeing the connections, rather than the differences between past and present. The ghosts of Salvador Dalí, Inka Essenhigh and Snow White and the Seven Dwarves are all in the house.

Moon's scenes are often painted on a windshield-shaped, fan form that telegraphs her interest in the traditional. Exceedingly subtle and dreamlike, her imagery emerges from a soft, watery backdrop like the vague fog of history. But her foregrounds are dominated by punk-rock hues: acid green, turquoise and a shade of hot pink rarely found outside of a can or tube. Strange forms emerge from her paintings: organ shapes in blood red, pink nipples, tumescent clouds and cute-sexy-strange metamorphosing forms that play with our desire for representation.

Eyes, sharp-fanged mouths and absurdly elongated tongues emerge out of that painterly ether like film-noir fatales stepping out of the waterfront fog. Moon's works straddle two worlds, one ancient and one contemporary, but their most intriguing quality is their refusal to decamp in either one.

Instead, there is mystery and a sense of flux and constant change even within these static pieces. In one work, Moon has taken the natural next step in her fluid, mutating paintings, of allowing her tendrils and bamboo leaves to bleed from her paintings onto the gallery walls.

But in many ways that spillage of the paint onto the walls is unnecessary: It is clear there is chaos and growth and a barely contained energy lurking in all of her work.

No Peach Heaven: MuRungDowan. New Works by Jiha Moon. Through Feb. 22. Free. Sat., 11 a.m.-6 p.m. and by appointment. Saltworks Gallery, 635 Angier Ave. 404-876-8000. www.saltworksgallery.com.             13026508 1271722                          Jiha Moon: Peach pit "
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Wednesday January 23, 2008 12:04 am EST
Saltworks exhibition offers a state of grace | more...
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  string(2251) "Alcove Gallery may have found its groove.

After four years in the relatively funkless hamlet of Buckhead, Chris Warner's temple of underground art has settled into a new, 3,200-square-foot space in Avondale.

Exhibitions at Warner's 1,200-square-foot Bennett Street space tended to be crowded affairs, with art packed in like commuters on the Tokyo subway. But Warner's artists now have room to flex and preen, and the benefits of a little space are immediately apparent in Alcove's current group show Wonko, a tribute to that creepiest of kiddie yarns, 1971's Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory. As close to a snuff film as children of the '70s were apt to get, the movie lodged in many nascent imaginations for its mixture of psychedelia, doom and a grown-up – Willy Wonka (Gene Wilder) – with an adversarial, even sadistic relationship to his young charges.

"I was scarred. But in a good way," Warner says of the impact of Wonka on his childhood.

This fun, slightly naughty show full of scrumptious eye candy taps into a fertile thirty- to fortysomething streak of pop-culture nostalgia. The participating artists go gaga for the Wonka cast, from Valery Milovic's vixeny Veruca Salt to Johnny Yanok's addictive painting of the bad-trip Oompa Loompas. Artist Leslie Ditto imagines hero Charlie Bucket as a big-eyed Dickensian waif, while Barcelona artist Sergio Mora suggests a sugar-dusted Mark Ryden in his lurid and utterly seductive dinner-mint pastel canvases inspired by the recent Tim Burton version of the Roald Dahl yarn.

The most outrageously perverse and pleasurable piece in the show has to be Bethany Marchman's "Woncchus," a portrait of Gene Wilder's Wonka as a shirtless, muscled Caravaggio androgyne with desire-flushed pink cheeks, wet eyes like a Disney spaniel and a provocative cluster of fruit at his midsection. Like several of the Wonko artists, Marchman taps into a decadent, malevolent, sexual component of the 1971 film. Candy-lust is dangerous in Willy Wonka, and it's dangerous here, too, apt to make you gobble and gorge.

Wonko: 40 Artists Reveal Secrets of the Chocolate Factory. Through Jan. 20. Wed.-Sat., noon-7 p.m.; Sun., noon-4 p.m. Alcove Gallery, 2852 E. College Ave. 404-663-0159. www.alcovearts.com."
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After four years in the relatively funkless hamlet of Buckhead, Chris Warner's temple of underground art has settled into a new, 3,200-square-foot space in Avondale.

Exhibitions at Warner's 1,200-square-foot Bennett Street space tended to be crowded affairs, with art packed in like commuters on the Tokyo subway. But Warner's artists now have room to flex and preen, and the benefits of a little space are immediately apparent in Alcove's current group show ''Wonko'', a tribute to that creepiest of kiddie yarns, 1971's ''Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory''. As close to a snuff film as children of the '70s were apt to get, the movie lodged in many nascent imaginations for its mixture of psychedelia, doom and a grown-up – Willy Wonka (Gene Wilder) – with an adversarial, even sadistic relationship to his young charges.

"I was scarred. But in a good way," Warner says of the impact of ''Wonka'' on his childhood.

This fun, slightly naughty show full of scrumptious eye candy taps into a fertile thirty- to fortysomething streak of pop-culture nostalgia. The participating artists go gaga for the ''Wonka'' cast, from Valery Milovic's vixeny Veruca Salt to Johnny Yanok's addictive painting of the bad-trip Oompa Loompas. Artist Leslie Ditto imagines hero Charlie Bucket as a big-eyed Dickensian waif, while Barcelona artist Sergio Mora suggests a sugar-dusted Mark Ryden in his lurid and utterly seductive dinner-mint pastel canvases inspired by the recent Tim Burton version of the Roald Dahl yarn.

The most outrageously perverse and pleasurable piece in the show has to be Bethany Marchman's "Woncchus," a portrait of Gene Wilder's Wonka as a shirtless, muscled Caravaggio androgyne with desire-flushed pink cheeks, wet eyes like a Disney spaniel and a provocative cluster of fruit at his midsection. Like several of the ''Wonko'' artists, Marchman taps into a decadent, malevolent, sexual component of the 1971 film. Candy-lust is dangerous in ''Willy Wonka'', and it's dangerous here, too, apt to make you gobble and gorge.

Wonko: 40 Artists Reveal Secrets of the Chocolate Factory. ''Through Jan. 20. Wed.-Sat., noon-7 p.m.; Sun., noon-4 p.m. Alcove Gallery, 2852 E. College Ave. 404-663-0159. [http://www.alcovearts.com/|www.alcovearts.com].''"
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After four years in the relatively funkless hamlet of Buckhead, Chris Warner's temple of underground art has settled into a new, 3,200-square-foot space in Avondale.

Exhibitions at Warner's 1,200-square-foot Bennett Street space tended to be crowded affairs, with art packed in like commuters on the Tokyo subway. But Warner's artists now have room to flex and preen, and the benefits of a little space are immediately apparent in Alcove's current group show Wonko, a tribute to that creepiest of kiddie yarns, 1971's Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory. As close to a snuff film as children of the '70s were apt to get, the movie lodged in many nascent imaginations for its mixture of psychedelia, doom and a grown-up – Willy Wonka (Gene Wilder) – with an adversarial, even sadistic relationship to his young charges.

"I was scarred. But in a good way," Warner says of the impact of Wonka on his childhood.

This fun, slightly naughty show full of scrumptious eye candy taps into a fertile thirty- to fortysomething streak of pop-culture nostalgia. The participating artists go gaga for the Wonka cast, from Valery Milovic's vixeny Veruca Salt to Johnny Yanok's addictive painting of the bad-trip Oompa Loompas. Artist Leslie Ditto imagines hero Charlie Bucket as a big-eyed Dickensian waif, while Barcelona artist Sergio Mora suggests a sugar-dusted Mark Ryden in his lurid and utterly seductive dinner-mint pastel canvases inspired by the recent Tim Burton version of the Roald Dahl yarn.

The most outrageously perverse and pleasurable piece in the show has to be Bethany Marchman's "Woncchus," a portrait of Gene Wilder's Wonka as a shirtless, muscled Caravaggio androgyne with desire-flushed pink cheeks, wet eyes like a Disney spaniel and a provocative cluster of fruit at his midsection. Like several of the Wonko artists, Marchman taps into a decadent, malevolent, sexual component of the 1971 film. Candy-lust is dangerous in Willy Wonka, and it's dangerous here, too, apt to make you gobble and gorge.

Wonko: 40 Artists Reveal Secrets of the Chocolate Factory. Through Jan. 20. Wed.-Sat., noon-7 p.m.; Sun., noon-4 p.m. Alcove Gallery, 2852 E. College Ave. 404-663-0159. www.alcovearts.com.             13026315 1271312                          Wonko: Sugar high "
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Article

Wednesday December 26, 2007 12:04 am EST
Alcove Gallery pays tribute to Willy Wonka | more...
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  string(4014) "South Korean-born Dan Chung lives in rural Ashburn, in Northern Virginia, and his photographs attest to the solitude and restful pace of a small-town photographer's perspective.

Chung's black-and-white images in Translations include lonesome pine trees, family farmers and crumbling operations like a gas station that looks as if it might have been in business since the 1950s. Situated at the edge of a country road, "Exxon Station" is illuminated by a fluorescent glow that lights up its interior like a television, offering up its contents for the world to see. Inside the office/selling floor there are piles of paperwork, shelves of merchandise, unpacked boxes and the accumulated clutter of an undoubtedly decades-old mom-and-pop business.

Some of Chung's most arresting images in his show make use of artificial illumination. Buildings glow and mystery grows in the shadow-casting burn of street lamps. The way those nighttime beacons play against darkness lends a foreboding character to much of the work. In "Side-lit Tree," for instance, the tree's mad fracas of branches is given a macabre character next to an unseen light source that casts the tree's fragmented shadow onto an adjacent building. Chung's most transportive, handsome image may be "Cumberland Pine Trees," where two aisles of bone-white trees appear almost phosphorescent against the pitch-black night. Suddenly the woods seem monumental and awe-inspiring, imbued with life and importance.

Such images of night and of nature show that things we call ordinary can be invested with drama under the photographer's lens. But not every woodland scene of damply glistening leaves or river rocks undergoes that transformation in Chung's work. Natural forms are, of course, not by definition dramatic. Like anything, nature has its pedestrian you've-seen-one-leafless-tree, you've-seen-them-all moments and its "Cumberland Pine Trees" money shots. Chung can be bogged down by conventionality. Some of his nature studies are bone-dry affairs, though his images of Mexico suggest that the natural world and not people are his greater strength.

Chung's shots of Mexican children and timeworn boulevards stand on less sure ground, indulging a fascination with distant lands and people that doesn't necessarily translate. Images of a little girl running down a trash-strewn street or a musician cradling his guitar as he waits to go on stage at some small bistro are certainly more artful than the usual tourist snapshot. But Chung could stand to be more discriminating in what he shoots and offer a more cohesive thread in his work.

On the evidence of the work here, Chung works best when he works closer to home. It is tempting to imagine that Chung's two-year-running documentation of a Virginia dairy-farm family might have offered the cohesion and social-engagement missing in these non sequitur portraits of Mexican residents.

The dairy-farm project is unfortunately only alluded to in several intriguing photographs like "Dane and Bill," hanging in the gallery office. In the image two men contemplate a field, their backs turned to the camera. But their sagging posture and hands jammed into pockets prove incredibly telling, giving us ample information about the kind of men they are and the matters they are discussing. In other images, Chung crops or blurs people's faces in a way that does not always make sense. In "Dane and Bill," however, that denied access works wonderfully, capturing two working men in an honest, respectful way. The photograph's distanced approach makes you long to know more about these people and their place in the world.

Despite the gulf in quality between images, Chung's work is a steal, priced below $500 framed with even cheaper smaller prints also available. In the end, a piece like "Cumberland Pine Trees" might even make more sense isolated in someone's living room. Perhaps then, the image might draw from its own internal strengths and feel less like just one in a random collection of images."
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  string(4018) "South Korean-born Dan Chung lives in rural Ashburn, in Northern Virginia, and his photographs attest to the solitude and restful pace of a small-town photographer's perspective.

Chung's black-and-white images in ''Translations'' include lonesome pine trees, family farmers and crumbling operations like a gas station that looks as if it might have been in business since the 1950s. Situated at the edge of a country road, "Exxon Station" is illuminated by a fluorescent glow that lights up its interior like a television, offering up its contents for the world to see. Inside the office/selling floor there are piles of paperwork, shelves of merchandise, unpacked boxes and the accumulated clutter of an undoubtedly decades-old mom-and-pop business.

Some of Chung's most arresting images in his show make use of artificial illumination. Buildings glow and mystery grows in the shadow-casting burn of street lamps. The way those nighttime beacons play against darkness lends a foreboding character to much of the work. In "Side-lit Tree," for instance, the tree's mad fracas of branches is given a macabre character next to an unseen light source that casts the tree's fragmented shadow onto an adjacent building. Chung's most transportive, handsome image may be "Cumberland Pine Trees," where two aisles of bone-white trees appear almost phosphorescent against the pitch-black night. Suddenly the woods seem monumental and awe-inspiring, imbued with life and importance.

Such images of night and of nature show that things we call ordinary can be invested with drama under the photographer's lens. But not every woodland scene of damply glistening leaves or river rocks undergoes that transformation in Chung's work. Natural forms are, of course, not by definition dramatic. Like anything, nature has its pedestrian you've-seen-one-leafless-tree, you've-seen-them-all moments and its "Cumberland Pine Trees" money shots. Chung can be bogged down by conventionality. Some of his nature studies are bone-dry affairs, though his images of Mexico suggest that the natural world and not people are his greater strength.

Chung's shots of Mexican children and timeworn boulevards stand on less sure ground, indulging a fascination with distant lands and people that doesn't necessarily translate. Images of a little girl running down a trash-strewn street or a musician cradling his guitar as he waits to go on stage at some small bistro are certainly more artful than the usual tourist snapshot. But Chung could stand to be more discriminating in what he shoots and offer a more cohesive thread in his work.

On the evidence of the work here, Chung works best when he works closer to home. It is tempting to imagine that Chung's two-year-running documentation of a Virginia dairy-farm family might have offered the cohesion and social-engagement missing in these non sequitur portraits of Mexican residents.

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  string(4271) "    Photographer goes country with Translations at Composition Gallery   2007-12-19T05:04:00+00:00 Dan Chung: High lonesome   Felicia Feaster 1223506 2007-12-19T05:04:00+00:00  South Korean-born Dan Chung lives in rural Ashburn, in Northern Virginia, and his photographs attest to the solitude and restful pace of a small-town photographer's perspective.

Chung's black-and-white images in Translations include lonesome pine trees, family farmers and crumbling operations like a gas station that looks as if it might have been in business since the 1950s. Situated at the edge of a country road, "Exxon Station" is illuminated by a fluorescent glow that lights up its interior like a television, offering up its contents for the world to see. Inside the office/selling floor there are piles of paperwork, shelves of merchandise, unpacked boxes and the accumulated clutter of an undoubtedly decades-old mom-and-pop business.

Some of Chung's most arresting images in his show make use of artificial illumination. Buildings glow and mystery grows in the shadow-casting burn of street lamps. The way those nighttime beacons play against darkness lends a foreboding character to much of the work. In "Side-lit Tree," for instance, the tree's mad fracas of branches is given a macabre character next to an unseen light source that casts the tree's fragmented shadow onto an adjacent building. Chung's most transportive, handsome image may be "Cumberland Pine Trees," where two aisles of bone-white trees appear almost phosphorescent against the pitch-black night. Suddenly the woods seem monumental and awe-inspiring, imbued with life and importance.

Such images of night and of nature show that things we call ordinary can be invested with drama under the photographer's lens. But not every woodland scene of damply glistening leaves or river rocks undergoes that transformation in Chung's work. Natural forms are, of course, not by definition dramatic. Like anything, nature has its pedestrian you've-seen-one-leafless-tree, you've-seen-them-all moments and its "Cumberland Pine Trees" money shots. Chung can be bogged down by conventionality. Some of his nature studies are bone-dry affairs, though his images of Mexico suggest that the natural world and not people are his greater strength.

Chung's shots of Mexican children and timeworn boulevards stand on less sure ground, indulging a fascination with distant lands and people that doesn't necessarily translate. Images of a little girl running down a trash-strewn street or a musician cradling his guitar as he waits to go on stage at some small bistro are certainly more artful than the usual tourist snapshot. But Chung could stand to be more discriminating in what he shoots and offer a more cohesive thread in his work.

On the evidence of the work here, Chung works best when he works closer to home. It is tempting to imagine that Chung's two-year-running documentation of a Virginia dairy-farm family might have offered the cohesion and social-engagement missing in these non sequitur portraits of Mexican residents.

The dairy-farm project is unfortunately only alluded to in several intriguing photographs like "Dane and Bill," hanging in the gallery office. In the image two men contemplate a field, their backs turned to the camera. But their sagging posture and hands jammed into pockets prove incredibly telling, giving us ample information about the kind of men they are and the matters they are discussing. In other images, Chung crops or blurs people's faces in a way that does not always make sense. In "Dane and Bill," however, that denied access works wonderfully, capturing two working men in an honest, respectful way. The photograph's distanced approach makes you long to know more about these people and their place in the world.

Despite the gulf in quality between images, Chung's work is a steal, priced below $500 framed with even cheaper smaller prints also available. In the end, a piece like "Cumberland Pine Trees" might even make more sense isolated in someone's living room. Perhaps then, the image might draw from its own internal strengths and feel less like just one in a random collection of images.             13026250 1271169                          Dan Chung: High lonesome "
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Wednesday December 19, 2007 12:04 am EST
Photographer goes country with Translations at Composition Gallery | more...
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  string(2392) "There is the dank smell of earth and a feeling of being cut off from the real world for a time in the White Spec gallery where Shana Robbins' current body of work is on view. Across the courtyard from White Space Gallery, White Spec offers a more theatrical, immersive, old-timey escape from the here and now. The former wine cellar has an ambiance richly suited to the organic, moss-and-dirt concerns of this artist.

Entering White Spec feels like stumbling into some odd, esoteric museum in Paris or Amsterdam devoted to medieval torture or medical history. There is an uneven brick floor, visible duct work and then an array of paintings and the costumes Robbins uses in her performance pieces. Robbins appears in her Super-8 film "This Is Me. Be Careful" and in paintings done on book pages as a kind of Victorian tree priestess in long dress and high collar with a crooked wooden yucca-branch staff, hobbling through the forest on an unspecified mission.

Like Matthew Barney, Robbins is an artist dealing with nature/culture, eerie blends of music and performance and a partly invented mythology. If Barney has often taken masculinity and the male sex organs as his focus, Robbins has a comparable interest in linking nature and the feminine. Her costume, featuring an enormous satin hair bow (like those sad stick-ons plunked on girl-baby heads to signify "female") and lace, speaks to conventional, antiquated views of femininity. But her ornamentation of bark and Spanish moss and a face kept hidden from view give the impression of some mythic, eternal woman who haunts the primordial forest.

This Is Me. Be Careful appears alongside a greatest-hits compilation of past and future White Space artists in The December Show. Seen alongside Robbins' nature-centric work, there are many lovely overlaps, including Jonathan Bouknight's vaporous, delicate drawing of tree branches that flirt with human form. And Robbins may have a kindred spirit in Beth Marcum, whose sumptuous-scary oil painting "Fruit" features birds feasting on fat, dangling pomegranates with an unsettling resemblance to sinew and blood. When the lovely and the primal, the human and nature come together, the effect can be wonderfully disturbing.

This Is Me. Be Careful and The December Show. Through Jan. 19. White Space Gallery, 814 Edgewood Ave. Wed.-Sat., 11 a.m.-5 p.m. 404-688-1892. www.whitespace814.com."
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Entering White Spec feels like stumbling into some odd, esoteric museum in Paris or Amsterdam devoted to medieval torture or medical history. There is an uneven brick floor, visible duct work and then an array of paintings and the costumes Robbins uses in her performance pieces. Robbins appears in her Super-8 film "This Is Me. Be Careful" and in paintings done on book pages as a kind of Victorian tree priestess in long dress and high collar with a crooked wooden yucca-branch staff, hobbling through the forest on an unspecified mission.

Like Matthew Barney, Robbins is an artist dealing with nature/culture, eerie blends of music and performance and a partly invented mythology. If Barney has often taken masculinity and the male sex organs as his focus, Robbins has a comparable interest in linking nature and the feminine. Her costume, featuring an enormous satin hair bow (like those sad stick-ons plunked on girl-baby heads to signify "female") and lace, speaks to conventional, antiquated views of femininity. But her ornamentation of bark and Spanish moss and a face kept hidden from view give the impression of some mythic, eternal woman who haunts the primordial forest.

''This Is Me. Be Careful'' appears alongside a greatest-hits compilation of past and future White Space artists in ''The December Show''. Seen alongside Robbins' nature-centric work, there are many lovely overlaps, including Jonathan Bouknight's vaporous, delicate drawing of tree branches that flirt with human form. And Robbins may have a kindred spirit in Beth Marcum, whose sumptuous-scary oil painting "Fruit" features birds feasting on fat, dangling pomegranates with an unsettling resemblance to sinew and blood. When the lovely and the primal, the human and nature come together, the effect can be wonderfully disturbing.

This Is Me. Be Careful ''and'' The December Show. ''Through Jan. 19. White Space Gallery, 814 Edgewood Ave. Wed.-Sat., 11 a.m.-5 p.m. 404-688-1892. [http://www.whitespace814.com/|www.whitespace814.com].''"
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Entering White Spec feels like stumbling into some odd, esoteric museum in Paris or Amsterdam devoted to medieval torture or medical history. There is an uneven brick floor, visible duct work and then an array of paintings and the costumes Robbins uses in her performance pieces. Robbins appears in her Super-8 film "This Is Me. Be Careful" and in paintings done on book pages as a kind of Victorian tree priestess in long dress and high collar with a crooked wooden yucca-branch staff, hobbling through the forest on an unspecified mission.

Like Matthew Barney, Robbins is an artist dealing with nature/culture, eerie blends of music and performance and a partly invented mythology. If Barney has often taken masculinity and the male sex organs as his focus, Robbins has a comparable interest in linking nature and the feminine. Her costume, featuring an enormous satin hair bow (like those sad stick-ons plunked on girl-baby heads to signify "female") and lace, speaks to conventional, antiquated views of femininity. But her ornamentation of bark and Spanish moss and a face kept hidden from view give the impression of some mythic, eternal woman who haunts the primordial forest.

This Is Me. Be Careful appears alongside a greatest-hits compilation of past and future White Space artists in The December Show. Seen alongside Robbins' nature-centric work, there are many lovely overlaps, including Jonathan Bouknight's vaporous, delicate drawing of tree branches that flirt with human form. And Robbins may have a kindred spirit in Beth Marcum, whose sumptuous-scary oil painting "Fruit" features birds feasting on fat, dangling pomegranates with an unsettling resemblance to sinew and blood. When the lovely and the primal, the human and nature come together, the effect can be wonderfully disturbing.

This Is Me. Be Careful and The December Show. Through Jan. 19. White Space Gallery, 814 Edgewood Ave. Wed.-Sat., 11 a.m.-5 p.m. 404-688-1892. www.whitespace814.com.             13026251 1271174                          Shana Robbins: Nature versus nurture "
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Wednesday December 19, 2007 12:04 am EST
Getting down and dirty at White Spec | more...
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  string(50) "Marc, Constantin and Roman Chatov: A family affair"
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  string(2780) "In the 1920s, brothers Roman and Constantin Chatov fled the Soviet revolution for the greener pastures of New York. Former costume designer Roman reportedly created the scarf that strangled dancer Isadora Duncan when it was caught in the wheels of a car. An accomplished portraitist like his brother, Constantin painted screen idols including Veronica Lake and Clark Gable. As longtime Atlanta art instructors, Constantin and Roman also influenced countless local artists.

One day before the opening of a Chatov exhibition at Mason Murer, Roman's son Marc milled around the gallery, the living witness to three painters in the family.

In isolation, none of the many Chatov works on display are mind-blowing; all three are skilled painters who share a romantic approach including a love of women and color. Lovely, bare-breasted women have their pudenda judiciously covered, à la Austin Powers, by bowls of fruit or softly draped fabric. And all three painters have had their circus moment, embracing the sad-eyed circus folk, clowns and Pierrots beloved by devotees of tortured, despondent kitsch.

The Chatovs are clearly influenced by movements from cubism to impressionism, and artists from Picasso to Velázquez to Cézanne. Some may find value in Constantin's and Roman's demonstration of classical technique and old-school skill. But just as many will delight in how the painters' work changes over time and reflects the cultural and artistic values of various eras. Constantin's almond-eyed African-American beauty, "Florda‚" from 1965 and Roman's giraffe-necked couple rendered in the glass-shard cubist manner in "Abyssinians" (1967) drip with the ethos of a melancholy, lean and angular 1960s style. It's a style that has since been absorbed into the culture in venues both unholy and sacred, in hotel art and museum collections.

Roman is the artist's artist, playing with form. His style evolves over time from tobacco-stained, elegant portraits of women in the '30s and '40s to '70s work with the moody, soft-focus character of an Eagles rock ballad. In contrast, Constantin's work shows a remarkable consistency throughout the decades, favoring bold impasto, jewel tones and portraits of women whose guarded body language consistently conveys emotional distance.

Marc clearly drew from both men's influence. He has embraced a classical style (represented here by a heavy emphasis on still life) and continued in the Chatov brothers' tradition of portraiture. And there is an unfortunate detour into harlequin psychodrama – one family tradition it might have been best not to resurrect.

Marc, Constantin and Roman Chatov. Through Jan. 20. Tues.-Sat., 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; Sun., noon-5 p.m. Mason Murer Fine Art, 199 Armour Drive. 404-879-1500. www.masonmurer.com."
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One day before the opening of a Chatov exhibition at Mason Murer, Roman's son Marc milled around the gallery, the living witness to three painters in the family.

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Roman is the artist's artist, playing with form. His style evolves over time from tobacco-stained, elegant portraits of women in the '30s and '40s to '70s work with the moody, soft-focus character of an Eagles rock ballad. In contrast, Constantin's work shows a remarkable consistency throughout the decades, favoring bold impasto, jewel tones and portraits of women whose guarded body language consistently conveys emotional distance.

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Marc, Constantin and Roman Chatov. ''Through Jan. 20. Tues.-Sat., 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; Sun., noon-5 p.m. Mason Murer Fine Art, 199 Armour Drive. 404-879-1500. [http://www.masonmurer.com/|www.masonmurer.com].''"
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  string(3057) "    Mason Murer goes with the classics   2007-12-12T05:04:00+00:00 Marc, Constantin and Roman Chatov: A family affair   Felicia Feaster 1223506 2007-12-12T05:04:00+00:00  In the 1920s, brothers Roman and Constantin Chatov fled the Soviet revolution for the greener pastures of New York. Former costume designer Roman reportedly created the scarf that strangled dancer Isadora Duncan when it was caught in the wheels of a car. An accomplished portraitist like his brother, Constantin painted screen idols including Veronica Lake and Clark Gable. As longtime Atlanta art instructors, Constantin and Roman also influenced countless local artists.

One day before the opening of a Chatov exhibition at Mason Murer, Roman's son Marc milled around the gallery, the living witness to three painters in the family.

In isolation, none of the many Chatov works on display are mind-blowing; all three are skilled painters who share a romantic approach including a love of women and color. Lovely, bare-breasted women have their pudenda judiciously covered, à la Austin Powers, by bowls of fruit or softly draped fabric. And all three painters have had their circus moment, embracing the sad-eyed circus folk, clowns and Pierrots beloved by devotees of tortured, despondent kitsch.

The Chatovs are clearly influenced by movements from cubism to impressionism, and artists from Picasso to Velázquez to Cézanne. Some may find value in Constantin's and Roman's demonstration of classical technique and old-school skill. But just as many will delight in how the painters' work changes over time and reflects the cultural and artistic values of various eras. Constantin's almond-eyed African-American beauty, "Florda‚" from 1965 and Roman's giraffe-necked couple rendered in the glass-shard cubist manner in "Abyssinians" (1967) drip with the ethos of a melancholy, lean and angular 1960s style. It's a style that has since been absorbed into the culture in venues both unholy and sacred, in hotel art and museum collections.

Roman is the artist's artist, playing with form. His style evolves over time from tobacco-stained, elegant portraits of women in the '30s and '40s to '70s work with the moody, soft-focus character of an Eagles rock ballad. In contrast, Constantin's work shows a remarkable consistency throughout the decades, favoring bold impasto, jewel tones and portraits of women whose guarded body language consistently conveys emotional distance.

Marc clearly drew from both men's influence. He has embraced a classical style (represented here by a heavy emphasis on still life) and continued in the Chatov brothers' tradition of portraiture. And there is an unfortunate detour into harlequin psychodrama – one family tradition it might have been best not to resurrect.

Marc, Constantin and Roman Chatov. Through Jan. 20. Tues.-Sat., 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; Sun., noon-5 p.m. Mason Murer Fine Art, 199 Armour Drive. 404-879-1500. www.masonmurer.com.             13026206 1270964                          Marc, Constantin and Roman Chatov: A family affair "
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Wednesday December 12, 2007 12:04 am EST
Mason Murer goes with the classics | more...
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  string(5468) "Andy Moon Wilson and the artist currently known as "Bean" (aka Ben Worley and Bean Summer) are kindred spirits on several fronts. Both deal with pattern and repetition, and both have taken that vague and wily thing we call "culture" and whipped it into a vivid, manic, often fun-to-drink brew. For those interested in such behind-the-scenes doings, Wilson and Bean also share an ally in Lloyd Benjamin, the artist/gallery owner and jack-of-all-trades. Benjamin framed Bean's show Encyclopedia Studies. And Benjamin's gallery, Get This!, is Wilson's showcase for his first solo show in Atlanta, Line Colonies.

But where Wilson and Bean most significantly differ is in technique. In profoundly low-tech fashion, Wilson draws on paper in ink, while Bean uses digital photography and computers. It is a gulf between them demarcated by lo-fi versus high-tech, pen versus keyboard, hands-on doodle versus computer-mediated print. Wilson designs high-end rugs, a vocation played out in his richly patterned and intricate drawings. And Bean books bands for local nightclubs while attending graduate school at Georgia State, which may explain his willingness to try many different things at once in his art.

In Line Colonies Wilson presents art about, in many ways, a subversion of work in the time clock and W-2 sense.

In "The Dude Project‚" Wilson combines drawings and text into a manly Note to Self. There is humping. There are knives. There are monster trucks. There is midget racing and ping-pong – all addressed in drawings done on 120 yellow Post-It notes. That most utilitarian of memory aids becomes subverted in the self-conscious fan-boy kookiness of Wilson's project. Wilson's investigation and indulging of "lad" urges in many ways parallels Saltworks artist Michael Scoggins' manic, boyish drawings of soldiers, warfare and forts.

Wilson's thumbed nose to Big Daddy continues in "Business," with 140 business cards face down against the wall like traitors awaiting the firing squad. Wilson uses the back of the cards for carefully executed architectural follies and elaborate mechanical systems rendered in often achingly precise pen-and-ink drawings. More refined than mere doodles, the drawings suggest fanciful daydreams and visions of some mythic place beyond the dull corridors of business.

The overriding fixation of Wilson's show is the doodle: distracted or angry, whimsical or unconscious drawing. But that effect yields different results in Line Colonies. The doodle is crude and compulsive in a less engaging series of drawings on graph paper called Gridlock‚ which, like some of Wilson's other work, can move from conceptual Rorschach test to opaque and uninspired scribbling and code-making.

The best work in Line Colonies is generally not in the dense ink labyrinths. It is in Wilson's marvelous flying machines, The Floating World Series, and the exquisite Blue Buildings, in which mania and compulsion become lighter than air.

The doodle goes lyrical and the dude sprouts wings in these flights of architectural fancy. Those two bodies of work meld a mishmash of architectures: gothic, pagodas, onion domes, froufrou Victorian, steeples, ridiculous buildings and imposing ones, into a structural lacework of imaged realities. Obsessions mutate into curlicued, ornamental imaginative forms that marry candy-box sweetness and obsession-made-object.

Both utopian and megalomaniacal, the pastiche buildings and frilly flying machines reference past decorative styles, but say something about our own times where dreams have veered off the rails into a no-man's-land of madness.

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Assembled like film strips or scrolls, the repeated images of animals and athletes, ants and atoms from the World Book form a 20th-century taxonomy of just what 1957 deemed worthy of inclusion in our assembled human knowledge. As Bean observes, that translates to more pages devoted to airplanes than to Africa. Bean takes these dated images and through the wonders of contemporary technology speeds them up to the frenzied pace of our own visual culture.

In some works, the overlay of images results in unsettling palimpsests, like the ghost images of soldiers that can be glimpsed beneath illustrations of military ranks and insignia in "Letter A-Overlay Study-13." Bean's techniques at times parallel Soviet filmmakers such as Sergei Eisenstein, who theorized that colliding images in montage can generate meaning.

Both Bean and Wilson have a tendency to throw too many ideas and variations on a theme out there‚ an idea perhaps best illustrated by Wilson's dead-end "Megadoodle" or the video piece accompanying Bean's prints, rather than presenting a clean, consistent thread. Some of the work feels riffy and tentative, though both shows have enough going on to assure us that too few ideas will never be either artist's problem."
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The overriding fixation of Wilson's show is the doodle: distracted or angry, whimsical or unconscious drawing. But that effect yields different results in ''Line Colonies''. The doodle is crude and compulsive in a less engaging series of drawings on graph paper called ''Gridlock''‚ which, like some of Wilson's other work, can move from conceptual Rorschach test to opaque and uninspired scribbling and code-making.

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The doodle goes lyrical and the dude sprouts wings in these flights of architectural fancy. Those two bodies of work meld a mishmash of architectures: gothic, pagodas, onion domes, froufrou Victorian, steeples, ridiculous buildings and imposing ones, into a structural lacework of imaged realities. Obsessions mutate into curlicued, ornamental imaginative forms that marry candy-box sweetness and obsession-made-object.

Both utopian and megalomaniacal, the pastiche buildings and frilly flying machines reference past decorative styles, but say something about our own times where dreams have veered off the rails into a no-man's-land of madness.

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Assembled like film strips or scrolls, the repeated images of animals and athletes, ants and atoms from the ''World Book'' form a 20th-century taxonomy of just what 1957 deemed worthy of inclusion in our assembled human knowledge. As Bean observes, that translates to more pages devoted to airplanes than to Africa. Bean takes these dated images and through the wonders of contemporary technology speeds them up to the frenzied pace of our own visual culture.

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In Line Colonies Wilson presents art about, in many ways, a subversion of work in the time clock and W-2 sense.

In "The Dude Project‚" Wilson combines drawings and text into a manly Note to Self. There is humping. There are knives. There are monster trucks. There is midget racing and ping-pong – all addressed in drawings done on 120 yellow Post-It notes. That most utilitarian of memory aids becomes subverted in the self-conscious fan-boy kookiness of Wilson's project. Wilson's investigation and indulging of "lad" urges in many ways parallels Saltworks artist Michael Scoggins' manic, boyish drawings of soldiers, warfare and forts.

Wilson's thumbed nose to Big Daddy continues in "Business," with 140 business cards face down against the wall like traitors awaiting the firing squad. Wilson uses the back of the cards for carefully executed architectural follies and elaborate mechanical systems rendered in often achingly precise pen-and-ink drawings. More refined than mere doodles, the drawings suggest fanciful daydreams and visions of some mythic place beyond the dull corridors of business.

The overriding fixation of Wilson's show is the doodle: distracted or angry, whimsical or unconscious drawing. But that effect yields different results in Line Colonies. The doodle is crude and compulsive in a less engaging series of drawings on graph paper called Gridlock‚ which, like some of Wilson's other work, can move from conceptual Rorschach test to opaque and uninspired scribbling and code-making.

The best work in Line Colonies is generally not in the dense ink labyrinths. It is in Wilson's marvelous flying machines, The Floating World Series, and the exquisite Blue Buildings, in which mania and compulsion become lighter than air.

The doodle goes lyrical and the dude sprouts wings in these flights of architectural fancy. Those two bodies of work meld a mishmash of architectures: gothic, pagodas, onion domes, froufrou Victorian, steeples, ridiculous buildings and imposing ones, into a structural lacework of imaged realities. Obsessions mutate into curlicued, ornamental imaginative forms that marry candy-box sweetness and obsession-made-object.

Both utopian and megalomaniacal, the pastiche buildings and frilly flying machines reference past decorative styles, but say something about our own times where dreams have veered off the rails into a no-man's-land of madness.

Bean is an obsessive of sorts, too, in his archiving of the outmoded. Rather than the distracted, dum-dee-dum doodle, it is the World Book Encyclopedia: bound, authoritative and unadorned by 21st-century political correctness that serves as his muse. Bean says that unlike the high-falutin' Encyclopædia Britannica, it was the heavy-on-the-visuals 1957 World Book Encyclopedia that really hooked him. Bean's exhibition at Beep Beep Gallery, Encyclopedia Studies, is drawn from his ongoing effort to use all 25,000 images in the 18-volume encyclopedia, in this show starting at the very beginning with the letter "A."

Assembled like film strips or scrolls, the repeated images of animals and athletes, ants and atoms from the World Book form a 20th-century taxonomy of just what 1957 deemed worthy of inclusion in our assembled human knowledge. As Bean observes, that translates to more pages devoted to airplanes than to Africa. Bean takes these dated images and through the wonders of contemporary technology speeds them up to the frenzied pace of our own visual culture.

In some works, the overlay of images results in unsettling palimpsests, like the ghost images of soldiers that can be glimpsed beneath illustrations of military ranks and insignia in "Letter A-Overlay Study-13." Bean's techniques at times parallel Soviet filmmakers such as Sergei Eisenstein, who theorized that colliding images in montage can generate meaning.

Both Bean and Wilson have a tendency to throw too many ideas and variations on a theme out there‚ an idea perhaps best illustrated by Wilson's dead-end "Megadoodle" or the video piece accompanying Bean's prints, rather than presenting a clean, consistent thread. Some of the work feels riffy and tentative, though both shows have enough going on to assure us that too few ideas will never be either artist's problem.             13026180 1270902                          The doodle dudes "
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Wednesday December 5, 2007 12:04 am EST
The patterns of Andy Moon Wilson and Bean | more...
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  string(2207) "Second Place is a collaboration between Graphic Havoc, a Brooklyn-based design firm run by Atlanta College of Art and Georgia Tech grads, and Georgia-born photographer Jody Fausett. Conversant in the parlance of both glossy Manhattan-style periodicals and Atlanta's gallery scene, Fausett's photos have appeared in Time Out and Surface and at Whitespace and TEW Galleries.

The book attests to Fausett's continuing fascination with the Domestic Surreal: a collision of home and the paranormal undoubtedly informed by the inside-out vantage of an artistic man growing up in rural Georgia. His aunts and grandparents and their shag-carpeted homes are willing participants in Fausett's set design, offering up their cluttered kitchen tables, fuchsia tracksuits and well-maintained rifles for the show. Between the photograph-posing, the moonshine-making and the family avocation of taxidermy, Fausett's Dawsonville kin clearly share his knack for keeping busy.

A mounted deer's head lays in the middle of a living room. A pair of baby 'possums dangles from a majorette's baton. A lithe, naked girl seated on a coffee table is doused in a fog of baby powder by an older woman in sweatpants. Bizarre mists, ectoplasmic plumes of smoke and bright lights emerge from mouths, guns and makeup mirrors in Second Place like sinister portals to another dimension in Fausett's North Georgia sci-fi.

Though sex is largely absent from the tableaux of taxidermy and wood-paneled rec rooms that have defined his gallery shows, Second Place brings sex to the fore. Structured like a coming-of-age story book starring another Atlantan, artist Shana Robbins, Second Place feels loosely autobiographical in telling the story of an exotic redhead navigating the backyard animal pens and shag-carpeted living rooms of Fausett's creepy-cool sci-fi domestic.

It is clear from the work, but also from an interview with GHava's David Merten in Second Place, that home is not just a sinister but also an inspired place for the artist, a continuing source of fascination for Fausett as the wellspring of his own unique point of view.

GHava Press. $28. 120 pages. Available online and locally at Whitespace Gallery, 814 Edgewood Ave."
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  string(2453) "    New book celebrates Georgia photog's 'Domestic Surreal'   2007-11-28T05:04:00+00:00 Jody Fausett: Home again   Felicia Feaster 1223506 2007-11-28T05:04:00+00:00  Second Place is a collaboration between Graphic Havoc, a Brooklyn-based design firm run by Atlanta College of Art and Georgia Tech grads, and Georgia-born photographer Jody Fausett. Conversant in the parlance of both glossy Manhattan-style periodicals and Atlanta's gallery scene, Fausett's photos have appeared in Time Out and Surface and at Whitespace and TEW Galleries.

The book attests to Fausett's continuing fascination with the Domestic Surreal: a collision of home and the paranormal undoubtedly informed by the inside-out vantage of an artistic man growing up in rural Georgia. His aunts and grandparents and their shag-carpeted homes are willing participants in Fausett's set design, offering up their cluttered kitchen tables, fuchsia tracksuits and well-maintained rifles for the show. Between the photograph-posing, the moonshine-making and the family avocation of taxidermy, Fausett's Dawsonville kin clearly share his knack for keeping busy.

A mounted deer's head lays in the middle of a living room. A pair of baby 'possums dangles from a majorette's baton. A lithe, naked girl seated on a coffee table is doused in a fog of baby powder by an older woman in sweatpants. Bizarre mists, ectoplasmic plumes of smoke and bright lights emerge from mouths, guns and makeup mirrors in Second Place like sinister portals to another dimension in Fausett's North Georgia sci-fi.

Though sex is largely absent from the tableaux of taxidermy and wood-paneled rec rooms that have defined his gallery shows, Second Place brings sex to the fore. Structured like a coming-of-age story book starring another Atlantan, artist Shana Robbins, Second Place feels loosely autobiographical in telling the story of an exotic redhead navigating the backyard animal pens and shag-carpeted living rooms of Fausett's creepy-cool sci-fi domestic.

It is clear from the work, but also from an interview with GHava's David Merten in Second Place, that home is not just a sinister but also an inspired place for the artist, a continuing source of fascination for Fausett as the wellspring of his own unique point of view.

GHava Press. $28. 120 pages. Available online and locally at Whitespace Gallery, 814 Edgewood Ave.             13026090 1270716                          Jody Fausett: Home again "
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Article

Wednesday November 28, 2007 12:04 am EST
New book celebrates Georgia photog's 'Domestic Surreal' | more...
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  string(5165) "Joel Meyerowitz: Between the City and the Sea may be as much of a remedy as we will get to drought and the incipient chill of fall.

His photographs of the beckoning sapphire ocean, buttery sunlight, downy sand dunes and leisurely summer days marked by swirl cones and watercolor dusks conjure up lost, long days far from our brisk, time-addled present. The 69-year-old, highly respected photographer's exhibition of work spanning from 1976 to 1988 covers a broad range of visual material: Atlanta in the 1980s, the seaside of Cape Cod, a St. Louis ball field and a Florida tourist motel, among other places and people.

What the images have in common is a gentle affection for an irretrievable America defined by leisure, time and a sly, unfussy loveliness where both fluorescent light and natural beauty play their part. Meyerowitz's panorama of place is expansive, incorporating both landscape and people: from gas stations at dusk to freckled girls dappled with the marks mothers euphemistically refer to as "sun kisses‚" and their teenage hosts blot out with makeup and skin bleach.

The first image viewers will see upon entering the show is "Eliza," from 1982, of a lovely girl straddling that poignant line between child and adult. Her plump baby face sits on a woman's body that is refreshingly ungroomed, her arms marked by sun-bleached blond hair. As in Rineke Dijkstra's photographs of young people at the beach, the setting endows the girl with profundity. Standing on a knotty wharf at the edge of the sea, she becomes even more emblematic of life's divides. Between the City and the Sea explores cusps both human and geographical, as seen in Meyerowitz's contrast of new Atlanta and old in a small selection of images of the city.

Many contemporary photographers have taken note of the soullessness of the mundane American landscape: the disturbing banality of American discount stores and hotel atria seen through the lens of Andreas Gursky or the tainted landscapes of Richard Misrach. But Meyerowitz's orientation is toward the captivating, tender contours of American life. Shooting with a large-format camera in the emotion-infused color he has become known for since the '60s, his images radiate a quiet power, a sense of humor and an awareness of how even the simplest places, "a small town drugstore neon-bright in the encroaching night," can feel charged with expectation and ordinary beauty.

The soft light in Meyerowitz's "Laundry, Cape Cod," (from 1982) of bed sheets whipped by the ocean breeze, might be an inconsequential, daily life vignette in another, lesser photographer's hands. But with Meyerowitz, you look at those wooden clothespins, that solid wood-frame house and sea beyond, and you can imagine all that came before and after: the mother barefoot, in a two-piece bathing suit padding out to hang that cold, clammy wash.

The way such images capture the plain, unadorned dimensions of American life aches and pulses with a vividness that could be called romantic if the word didn't feel too grandiose a description of their inherent serenity and simplicity. Take, for instance, Meyerowitz's image "July 4, Provincetown." The American flag has been so contentious and so badly employed by now that an image of it might seem jingoistic or cloying. But in Meyerowitz's image, the soft, faded texture of a flag displayed hanging from a simple house has the lived-in, familiar quality of a pair of well-worn jeans. This was not a flag bought at Wal-Mart smelling of protective chemicals, but an old, familiar object kept like a treasure.

Meyerowitz is a devotee of off-frame space. He uses space like a filmmaker, teasing us with what we can't see. In a wonderfully content-packed image, "Ballston Beach," a cocksure lifeguard sits on his wooden throne, his elbows-thrown-back posture suggesting the reigning king of the seaside. A quartet of surfboards sits at the base of his lifeguard chair like expectant girls waiting for his shift to end. Though on first glance all of the photo's action appears to center on the lifeguard, at the margins a chicken fight is underway, the faces of the taut teens unseen but their frenzied actions clear. Other boys and men on the beach watch with the envy of guys who don't currently have chicks wrapped around their necks.

And in an idea that could certainly have been explored further, to tease out the parallels between the America that was and the America that is, the gallery has included just two images from Meyerowitz's Aftermath post-9/11 series. The only photographer allowed access to the cleanup site at Ground Zero, Meyerowitz captures the surreal decay of the dream of America delivered in earlier work.

In Aftermath those same flags are now tattered and Manhattan suddenly resembles the war zones of Beirut or Bosnia. The iconic American symbol of might, industry and progress, "the skyscraper," is reduced to a gray rubble.

The work is all the more profound next to the Dairy Land ice-cream shops, the suggestion of soft breezes and carefree days in the courtyard of a tacky Florida motel – a faraway dream of America touched by nostalgia and the pang of what was."
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His photographs of the beckoning sapphire ocean, buttery sunlight, downy sand dunes and leisurely summer days marked by swirl cones and watercolor dusks conjure up lost, long days far from our brisk, time-addled present. The 69-year-old, highly respected photographer's exhibition of work spanning from 1976 to 1988 covers a broad range of visual material: Atlanta in the 1980s, the seaside of Cape Cod, a St. Louis ball field and a Florida tourist motel, among other places and people.

What the images have in common is a gentle affection for an irretrievable America defined by leisure, time and a sly, unfussy loveliness where both fluorescent light and natural beauty play their part. Meyerowitz's panorama of place is expansive, incorporating both landscape and people: from gas stations at dusk to freckled girls dappled with the marks mothers euphemistically refer to as "sun kisses‚" and their teenage hosts blot out with makeup and skin bleach.

The first image viewers will see upon entering the show is "Eliza," from 1982, of a lovely girl straddling that poignant line between child and adult. Her plump baby face sits on a woman's body that is refreshingly ungroomed, her arms marked by sun-bleached blond hair. As in Rineke Dijkstra's photographs of young people at the beach, the setting endows the girl with profundity. Standing on a knotty wharf at the edge of the sea, she becomes even more emblematic of life's divides. ''Between the City and the Sea'' explores cusps both human and geographical, as seen in Meyerowitz's contrast of new Atlanta and old in a small selection of images of the city.

Many contemporary photographers have taken note of the soullessness of the mundane American landscape: the disturbing banality of American discount stores and hotel atria seen through the lens of Andreas Gursky or the tainted landscapes of Richard Misrach. But Meyerowitz's orientation is toward the captivating, tender contours of American life. Shooting with a large-format camera in the emotion-infused color he has become known for since the '60s, his images radiate a quiet power, a sense of humor and an awareness of how even the simplest places, "a small town drugstore neon-bright in the encroaching night," can feel charged with expectation and ordinary beauty.

The soft light in Meyerowitz's "Laundry, Cape Cod," (from 1982) of bed sheets whipped by the ocean breeze, might be an inconsequential, daily life vignette in another, lesser photographer's hands. But with Meyerowitz, you look at those wooden clothespins, that solid wood-frame house and sea beyond, and you can imagine all that came before and after: the mother barefoot, in a two-piece bathing suit padding out to hang that cold, clammy wash.

The way such images capture the plain, unadorned dimensions of American life aches and pulses with a vividness that could be called romantic if the word didn't feel too grandiose a description of their inherent serenity and simplicity. Take, for instance, Meyerowitz's image "July 4, Provincetown." The American flag has been so contentious and so badly employed by now that an image of it might seem jingoistic or cloying. But in Meyerowitz's image, the soft, faded texture of a flag displayed hanging from a simple house has the lived-in, familiar quality of a pair of well-worn jeans. This was not a flag bought at Wal-Mart smelling of protective chemicals, but an old, familiar object kept like a treasure.

Meyerowitz is a devotee of off-frame space. He uses space like a filmmaker, teasing us with what we can't see. In a wonderfully content-packed image, "Ballston Beach," a cocksure lifeguard sits on his wooden throne, his elbows-thrown-back posture suggesting the reigning king of the seaside. A quartet of surfboards sits at the base of his lifeguard chair like expectant girls waiting for his shift to end. Though on first glance all of the photo's action appears to center on the lifeguard, at the margins a chicken fight is underway, the faces of the taut teens unseen but their frenzied actions clear. Other boys and men on the beach watch with the envy of guys who don't currently have chicks wrapped around ''their'' necks.

And in an idea that could certainly have been explored further, to tease out the parallels between the America that was and the America that is, the gallery has included just two images from Meyerowitz's ''Aftermath'' post-9/11 series. The only photographer allowed access to the cleanup site at Ground Zero, Meyerowitz captures the surreal decay of the dream of America delivered in earlier work.

In ''Aftermath'' those same flags are now tattered and Manhattan suddenly resembles the war zones of Beirut or Bosnia. The iconic American symbol of might, industry and progress, "the skyscraper," is reduced to a gray rubble.

The work is all the more profound next to the Dairy Land ice-cream shops, the suggestion of soft breezes and carefree days in the courtyard of a tacky Florida motel – a faraway dream of America touched by nostalgia and the pang of what was."
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His photographs of the beckoning sapphire ocean, buttery sunlight, downy sand dunes and leisurely summer days marked by swirl cones and watercolor dusks conjure up lost, long days far from our brisk, time-addled present. The 69-year-old, highly respected photographer's exhibition of work spanning from 1976 to 1988 covers a broad range of visual material: Atlanta in the 1980s, the seaside of Cape Cod, a St. Louis ball field and a Florida tourist motel, among other places and people.

What the images have in common is a gentle affection for an irretrievable America defined by leisure, time and a sly, unfussy loveliness where both fluorescent light and natural beauty play their part. Meyerowitz's panorama of place is expansive, incorporating both landscape and people: from gas stations at dusk to freckled girls dappled with the marks mothers euphemistically refer to as "sun kisses‚" and their teenage hosts blot out with makeup and skin bleach.

The first image viewers will see upon entering the show is "Eliza," from 1982, of a lovely girl straddling that poignant line between child and adult. Her plump baby face sits on a woman's body that is refreshingly ungroomed, her arms marked by sun-bleached blond hair. As in Rineke Dijkstra's photographs of young people at the beach, the setting endows the girl with profundity. Standing on a knotty wharf at the edge of the sea, she becomes even more emblematic of life's divides. Between the City and the Sea explores cusps both human and geographical, as seen in Meyerowitz's contrast of new Atlanta and old in a small selection of images of the city.

Many contemporary photographers have taken note of the soullessness of the mundane American landscape: the disturbing banality of American discount stores and hotel atria seen through the lens of Andreas Gursky or the tainted landscapes of Richard Misrach. But Meyerowitz's orientation is toward the captivating, tender contours of American life. Shooting with a large-format camera in the emotion-infused color he has become known for since the '60s, his images radiate a quiet power, a sense of humor and an awareness of how even the simplest places, "a small town drugstore neon-bright in the encroaching night," can feel charged with expectation and ordinary beauty.

The soft light in Meyerowitz's "Laundry, Cape Cod," (from 1982) of bed sheets whipped by the ocean breeze, might be an inconsequential, daily life vignette in another, lesser photographer's hands. But with Meyerowitz, you look at those wooden clothespins, that solid wood-frame house and sea beyond, and you can imagine all that came before and after: the mother barefoot, in a two-piece bathing suit padding out to hang that cold, clammy wash.

The way such images capture the plain, unadorned dimensions of American life aches and pulses with a vividness that could be called romantic if the word didn't feel too grandiose a description of their inherent serenity and simplicity. Take, for instance, Meyerowitz's image "July 4, Provincetown." The American flag has been so contentious and so badly employed by now that an image of it might seem jingoistic or cloying. But in Meyerowitz's image, the soft, faded texture of a flag displayed hanging from a simple house has the lived-in, familiar quality of a pair of well-worn jeans. This was not a flag bought at Wal-Mart smelling of protective chemicals, but an old, familiar object kept like a treasure.

Meyerowitz is a devotee of off-frame space. He uses space like a filmmaker, teasing us with what we can't see. In a wonderfully content-packed image, "Ballston Beach," a cocksure lifeguard sits on his wooden throne, his elbows-thrown-back posture suggesting the reigning king of the seaside. A quartet of surfboards sits at the base of his lifeguard chair like expectant girls waiting for his shift to end. Though on first glance all of the photo's action appears to center on the lifeguard, at the margins a chicken fight is underway, the faces of the taut teens unseen but their frenzied actions clear. Other boys and men on the beach watch with the envy of guys who don't currently have chicks wrapped around their necks.

And in an idea that could certainly have been explored further, to tease out the parallels between the America that was and the America that is, the gallery has included just two images from Meyerowitz's Aftermath post-9/11 series. The only photographer allowed access to the cleanup site at Ground Zero, Meyerowitz captures the surreal decay of the dream of America delivered in earlier work.

In Aftermath those same flags are now tattered and Manhattan suddenly resembles the war zones of Beirut or Bosnia. The iconic American symbol of might, industry and progress, "the skyscraper," is reduced to a gray rubble.

The work is all the more profound next to the Dairy Land ice-cream shops, the suggestion of soft breezes and carefree days in the courtyard of a tacky Florida motel – a faraway dream of America touched by nostalgia and the pang of what was.             13026036 1270602                          Joel Meyerowitz: Sea change "
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Wednesday November 21, 2007 12:04 am EST
Photographer shows his affection for a lost America | more...
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  string(2383) "Folk artist Evans "Wisdom" Robinson Jr. paints buildings and people like two forces that just can't get along. In his scenes of big-city life, people gaze wistfully from windows in institutional apartment blocks or brood behind screen doors inside Auburn Avenue Victorians. Entrapment and longing rule these roosts; parents stroll with babies and couples share a romantic embrace while squeezed in an alleyway. But the overall mood conveyed in those figures frozen inside their apartment cages is of estrangement.

In many cases this self-taught artist's imagery is understandably crude: blocky, squared-off shapes, occasionally clunky portraiture, and a lack of perspective or depth. Robinson is tempted by saccharine and rudimentary symbols – he never met a songbird or a flower he didn't like.

But he's not oblivious. Because despite certain to-be-expected failings of technique and approach, Robinson's emotional content runs deep. Some of his works operate with that pure, earnest energy so characteristic of engaging folk art. More than that, his paintings are moody and thoughtful evocations of human alienation, suggesting a folky, African-American spin on Edward Hopper. Heartbreak lurks around every corner, and even the love notes and bouquets of flowers sitting on windowsills seem more than anything like failed attempts at a reconciliation or romance hovering elusive and bruised in the distance.

A native of Corteyou, Ala., who spent time in Chicago and now calls Doraville home, Robinson seems especially attuned to the blossoms of sadness and sweetness that erupt in even the most dismal big-city apartment blocks. Outside My Window captures that familiar spasm of longing familiar to both city dwellers and the brokenhearted. (The men in Robinson's paintings betray their romantic angst by seeing pretty women and happy couples everywhere.)

Robinson is on less confident and persuasive ground when he tackles conventional still-life imagery of flowers or when he tries for overt symbolism – as in a painting where a man appears to play a chess game with death. It is instead in his easygoing, expressive scenes of daily city life that the artist finds his ideal view.

Outside My Window: Evans "Wisdom" Robinson Jr. Through Nov. 25. Free. Wed.-Sat., 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; Sun., 11 a.m.-4 p.m. U*Space Gallery, 439 Edgewood Ave. 404-653-7331. www.uspacegallery.com."
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In many cases this self-taught artist's imagery is understandably crude: blocky, squared-off shapes, occasionally clunky portraiture, and a lack of perspective or depth. Robinson is tempted by saccharine and rudimentary symbols – he never met a songbird or a flower he didn't like.

But he's not oblivious. Because despite certain to-be-expected failings of technique and approach, Robinson's emotional content runs deep. Some of his works operate with that pure, earnest energy so characteristic of engaging folk art. More than that, his paintings are moody and thoughtful evocations of human alienation, suggesting a folky, African-American spin on Edward Hopper. Heartbreak lurks around every corner, and even the love notes and bouquets of flowers sitting on windowsills seem more than anything like failed attempts at a reconciliation or romance hovering elusive and bruised in the distance.

A native of Corteyou, Ala., who spent time in Chicago and now calls Doraville home, Robinson seems especially attuned to the blossoms of sadness and sweetness that erupt in even the most dismal big-city apartment blocks. ''Outside My Window'' captures that familiar spasm of longing familiar to both city dwellers and the brokenhearted. (The men in Robinson's paintings betray their romantic angst by seeing pretty women and happy couples everywhere.)

Robinson is on less confident and persuasive ground when he tackles conventional still-life imagery of flowers or when he tries for overt symbolism – as in a painting where a man appears to play a chess game with death. It is instead in his easygoing, expressive scenes of daily city life that the artist finds his ideal view.

Outside My Window: Evans "Wisdom" Robinson Jr. ''Through Nov. 25. Free. Wed.-Sat., 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; Sun., 11 a.m.-4 p.m. U*Space Gallery, 439 Edgewood Ave. 404-653-7331. [http://www.uspacegallery.com/|www.uspacegallery.com].''"
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A native of Corteyou, Ala., who spent time in Chicago and now calls Doraville home, Robinson seems especially attuned to the blossoms of sadness and sweetness that erupt in even the most dismal big-city apartment blocks. Outside My Window captures that familiar spasm of longing familiar to both city dwellers and the brokenhearted. (The men in Robinson's paintings betray their romantic angst by seeing pretty women and happy couples everywhere.)

Robinson is on less confident and persuasive ground when he tackles conventional still-life imagery of flowers or when he tries for overt symbolism – as in a painting where a man appears to play a chess game with death. It is instead in his easygoing, expressive scenes of daily city life that the artist finds his ideal view.

Outside My Window: Evans "Wisdom" Robinson Jr. Through Nov. 25. Free. Wed.-Sat., 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; Sun., 11 a.m.-4 p.m. U*Space Gallery, 439 Edgewood Ave. 404-653-7331. www.uspacegallery.com.             13025987 1270496                          Evans 'Wisdom' Robinson Jr.: Everyday people "
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Wednesday November 14, 2007 12:04 am EST
Folk artist looks outside his window | more...
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  string(5101) "Is that art?

For many Americans who feel alienated and intimidated by contemporary and especially abstract art, the answer probably would be "no."

What if the painting was made by a 4-year-old?

Even abstract art – which many would oppose in theory – suddenly becomes compelling when done by a child, according to the gallery owners, collectors and journalists interviewed in the new documentary My Kid Could Paint That, released last week in Atlanta.

In the movie, director Amir Bar-Lev follows the rise and fall of the 4-year-old abstract painter Marla Olmstead. It is not until a "60 Minutes" exposé suggests Marla may have had help from her father in painting her impressively complex abstract works that her collectors and fans begin to turn tail.

Though the film is fixated on the idea of whether Marla is a prodigy or a fraud, some of the most interesting content for art audiences – in Atlanta and beyond – may be the light it sheds on the enormous antipathy the public often levels at modern art and artists.

My Kid Could Paint That engages with a notion that has dogged modern art since before Jackson Pollock's day: that contemporary art is a con game foisted upon the public by critics, academics and other charlatans. But the film also taps into more current sentiments felt by many art-world insiders: In the heady, money-ruled contemporary-art marketplace where the worth of artwork is wildly capricious, how are value and prestige determined? Many involved in the art business will see some of their own concerns exposed, as illustrated by the Hummer-driving collector whose interest in owning a "Marla" seems driven by getting the latest hot ticket.

Some of the most fascinating perspective in the film comes from New York Times art critic Michael Kimmelman. Interviewed extensively in the film, Kimmelman speaks with amusement and eloquence to this idea some in the public feel, that contemporary art is itself an enormous fraud, a "put-on" foisted onto the public, the highbrow version of a midway carnival graft in which unsuspecting folk are separated from their paychecks by people who are hip and wise to the con.

"If a child can do it," Kimmelman says, "it pulls the veil off this con game."

But what My Kid Could Paint That or the people interviewed never address is the paradox of why they would purchase an abstract work to assert their dislike of abstract work.

Because if abstraction is merely a con game, the province of artists who can't "do" realism, then why do so many buyers line up for Marla's drips and swirls? Is it perhaps because buyers feel safe in rewarding the untutored, innate creativity of a child and feel deeply suspicious of trained, schooled, adult artists whose vocation still represents a great affront to working-culture America?

"Often when I tell someone I'm an artist, I get the old 'starving artist' comment and feel like they expect me to tell them what my other 'real' job is," says Grady Haugerud, whose abstract canvases are on view through Dec. 31 at the Puritan Mill Gallery in the King Plow Arts District.

"Some people can dismiss abstract works because they seem thrown together, messy, meaningless and most of all easy to make," Haugerud says. "In abstract art, the viewer has to engage in their imagination and inner vision to be receptive to this form of art."

Eric Mack, an Atlanta painter who has had his work exhibited at Fay Gold Gallery and currently in a group show at the new Cousins Properties Terminus building in Buckhead, has occasionally grappled with the difficulty some viewers have with abstract work.

That possibly alienating effect compelled Mack to actually alter his work for a six-week exhibition of 15 large paintings beginning Dec. 17 at the Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport's Atrium Gallery. Mack added more recognizable anatomical references to his usual graphic lines and color blocks.

"With abstraction," Mack says, "sometimes a little bit more imagination and energy is needed. A lot of times you don't really know if people are interested in giving that much energy.

"So especially in a public environment," he continues, "I wanted to try and incorporate imagery the public can connect with because you want to engage."

The truth is, abstract expressionism most famously typified by the drips and splatters of Pollock is not only about the virtuosity of individual artists and the idea that gesture, color and composition can convey ideas in themselves. It is also a history of innovation; the fact that Pollock came up with the splatter technique in the first place in response to the art that came before him. As Kimmelman notes of modern art, its meaning resides as much outside the frame as within it.

The reason Marla's works were initially beloved was because they dragged abstraction down from its ivory tower. They represented an unthreatening, comforting purity: abstraction without theory or training or any of its more alienating principles.

And so, if anything, the film proves that Americans will appreciate abstraction if they allow their defenses to drop."
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  string(5162) "Is that art?

For many Americans who feel alienated and intimidated by contemporary and especially abstract art, the answer probably would be "no."

What if the painting was made by a 4-year-old?

Even abstract art – which many would oppose in theory – suddenly becomes compelling when done by a child, according to the gallery owners, collectors and journalists interviewed in the new documentary [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j46V9wclBaw|''My Kid Could Paint That''], released last week in Atlanta.

In the movie, director Amir Bar-Lev follows the rise and fall of the 4-year-old abstract painter Marla Olmstead. It is not until a "60 Minutes" exposé suggests Marla may have had help from her father in painting her impressively complex abstract works that her collectors and fans begin to turn tail.

Though the film is fixated on the idea of whether Marla is a prodigy or a fraud, some of the most interesting content for art audiences – in Atlanta and beyond – may be the light it sheds on the enormous antipathy the public often levels at modern art and artists.

''My Kid Could Paint That'' engages with a notion that has dogged modern art since before Jackson Pollock's day: that contemporary art is a con game foisted upon the public by critics, academics and other charlatans. But the film also taps into more current sentiments felt by many art-world insiders: In the heady, money-ruled contemporary-art marketplace where the worth of artwork is wildly capricious, how are value and prestige determined? Many involved in the art business will see some of their own concerns exposed, as illustrated by the Hummer-driving collector whose interest in owning a "Marla" seems driven by getting the latest hot ticket.

Some of the most fascinating perspective in the film comes from ''New York Times'' art critic Michael Kimmelman. Interviewed extensively in the film, Kimmelman speaks with amusement and eloquence to this idea some in the public feel, that contemporary art is itself an enormous fraud, a "put-on" foisted onto the public, the highbrow version of a midway carnival graft in which unsuspecting folk are separated from their paychecks by people who are hip and wise to the con.

"If a child can do it," Kimmelman says, "it pulls the veil off this con game."

But what ''My Kid Could Paint That'' or the people interviewed never address is the paradox of why they would purchase an abstract work to assert their dislike of abstract work.

Because if abstraction is merely a con game, the province of artists who can't "do" realism, then why do so many buyers line up for Marla's drips and swirls? Is it perhaps because buyers feel safe in rewarding the untutored, innate creativity of a child and feel deeply suspicious of trained, schooled, adult artists whose vocation still represents a great affront to working-culture America?

"Often when I tell someone I'm an artist, I get the old 'starving artist' comment and feel like they expect me to tell them what my other 'real' job is," says Grady Haugerud, whose abstract canvases are on view through Dec. 31 at the Puritan Mill Gallery in the King Plow Arts District.

"Some people can dismiss abstract works because they seem thrown together, messy, meaningless and most of all easy to make," Haugerud says. "In abstract art, the viewer has to engage in their imagination and inner vision to be receptive to this form of art."

Eric Mack, an Atlanta painter who has had his work exhibited at Fay Gold Gallery and currently in a group show at the new Cousins Properties Terminus building in Buckhead, has occasionally grappled with the difficulty some viewers have with abstract work.

That possibly alienating effect compelled Mack to actually alter his work for a six-week exhibition of 15 large paintings beginning Dec. 17 at the Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport's Atrium Gallery. Mack added more recognizable anatomical references to his usual graphic lines and color blocks.

"With abstraction," Mack says, "sometimes a little bit more imagination and energy is needed. A lot of times you don't really know if people are interested in giving that much energy.

"So especially in a public environment," he continues, "I wanted to try and incorporate imagery the public can connect with because you want to engage."

The truth is, abstract expressionism most famously typified by the drips and splatters of Pollock is not only about the virtuosity of individual artists and the idea that gesture, color and composition can convey ideas in themselves. It is also a history of innovation; the fact that Pollock came up with the splatter technique in the first place in response to the art that came before him. As Kimmelman notes of modern art, its meaning resides as much outside the frame as within it.

The reason Marla's works were initially beloved was because they dragged abstraction down from its ivory tower. They represented an unthreatening, comforting purity: abstraction without theory or training or any of its more alienating principles.

And so, if anything, the film proves that Americans will appreciate abstraction if they allow their defenses to drop."
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For many Americans who feel alienated and intimidated by contemporary and especially abstract art, the answer probably would be "no."

What if the painting was made by a 4-year-old?

Even abstract art – which many would oppose in theory – suddenly becomes compelling when done by a child, according to the gallery owners, collectors and journalists interviewed in the new documentary My Kid Could Paint That, released last week in Atlanta.

In the movie, director Amir Bar-Lev follows the rise and fall of the 4-year-old abstract painter Marla Olmstead. It is not until a "60 Minutes" exposé suggests Marla may have had help from her father in painting her impressively complex abstract works that her collectors and fans begin to turn tail.

Though the film is fixated on the idea of whether Marla is a prodigy or a fraud, some of the most interesting content for art audiences – in Atlanta and beyond – may be the light it sheds on the enormous antipathy the public often levels at modern art and artists.

My Kid Could Paint That engages with a notion that has dogged modern art since before Jackson Pollock's day: that contemporary art is a con game foisted upon the public by critics, academics and other charlatans. But the film also taps into more current sentiments felt by many art-world insiders: In the heady, money-ruled contemporary-art marketplace where the worth of artwork is wildly capricious, how are value and prestige determined? Many involved in the art business will see some of their own concerns exposed, as illustrated by the Hummer-driving collector whose interest in owning a "Marla" seems driven by getting the latest hot ticket.

Some of the most fascinating perspective in the film comes from New York Times art critic Michael Kimmelman. Interviewed extensively in the film, Kimmelman speaks with amusement and eloquence to this idea some in the public feel, that contemporary art is itself an enormous fraud, a "put-on" foisted onto the public, the highbrow version of a midway carnival graft in which unsuspecting folk are separated from their paychecks by people who are hip and wise to the con.

"If a child can do it," Kimmelman says, "it pulls the veil off this con game."

But what My Kid Could Paint That or the people interviewed never address is the paradox of why they would purchase an abstract work to assert their dislike of abstract work.

Because if abstraction is merely a con game, the province of artists who can't "do" realism, then why do so many buyers line up for Marla's drips and swirls? Is it perhaps because buyers feel safe in rewarding the untutored, innate creativity of a child and feel deeply suspicious of trained, schooled, adult artists whose vocation still represents a great affront to working-culture America?

"Often when I tell someone I'm an artist, I get the old 'starving artist' comment and feel like they expect me to tell them what my other 'real' job is," says Grady Haugerud, whose abstract canvases are on view through Dec. 31 at the Puritan Mill Gallery in the King Plow Arts District.

"Some people can dismiss abstract works because they seem thrown together, messy, meaningless and most of all easy to make," Haugerud says. "In abstract art, the viewer has to engage in their imagination and inner vision to be receptive to this form of art."

Eric Mack, an Atlanta painter who has had his work exhibited at Fay Gold Gallery and currently in a group show at the new Cousins Properties Terminus building in Buckhead, has occasionally grappled with the difficulty some viewers have with abstract work.

That possibly alienating effect compelled Mack to actually alter his work for a six-week exhibition of 15 large paintings beginning Dec. 17 at the Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport's Atrium Gallery. Mack added more recognizable anatomical references to his usual graphic lines and color blocks.

"With abstraction," Mack says, "sometimes a little bit more imagination and energy is needed. A lot of times you don't really know if people are interested in giving that much energy.

"So especially in a public environment," he continues, "I wanted to try and incorporate imagery the public can connect with because you want to engage."

The truth is, abstract expressionism most famously typified by the drips and splatters of Pollock is not only about the virtuosity of individual artists and the idea that gesture, color and composition can convey ideas in themselves. It is also a history of innovation; the fact that Pollock came up with the splatter technique in the first place in response to the art that came before him. As Kimmelman notes of modern art, its meaning resides as much outside the frame as within it.

The reason Marla's works were initially beloved was because they dragged abstraction down from its ivory tower. They represented an unthreatening, comforting purity: abstraction without theory or training or any of its more alienating principles.

And so, if anything, the film proves that Americans will appreciate abstraction if they allow their defenses to drop.             13025928 1270374                          For Art's Sake - You're kidding me, right? "
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Wednesday November 7, 2007 12:04 am EST
Modern art, and the response to it, provides muse for new film | more...
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  string(5365) "You can find a lot of things at the highway's edge: hitchhikers, widowed tennis shoes, soiled diapers, the greasy bag leavings of the McDonald's empire. But the roadside is not necessarily where one looks for insight into a culture.

That is, unless you are Beijing photographer He Chongyue.

Chongyue has found something both sinister and quaint by the rural Chinese roadside. A Billion to One: Dictated Parenthood and the Feudal Mind is Chongyue's illuminating photo essay on how China's one-child policy initiated in the 1970s found expression in the government billboards from the late '70s and '80s that herald to passing drivers the population-control party line. The billboards advertise state-mandated happiness, with Big Brother sweetly dictating the rules of the game.

Folksy and crudely rendered, the paintings, mostly from Weining County, suggest propaganda in the hands of an R.A. Miller or Howard Finster. Cheerful, primary colors (pink for women and blue for men) dominate. Features and expressions range from amateurish to inept, suggesting cheaply produced Depression-era Tijuana Bibles, children's drawings, Kilroy graffiti and folk art.

Happy children hold hands in a celebration of bright tomorrows, and parents hoist pigtailed only children ornamented with red ribbons rewarding them, like 4-H livestock, for their savvy family planning. Several of the children hold a trio of balloons in visual affirmation of the holy trinity of mother, father and single child. Flowers, birds, oceans and other pleasant set design strike a note of righteously achieved procreative bliss.

A Smurflike sense of utopian, communally achieved happiness unfolds in many of the images. On one billboard, children with the truncated bodies of miniature adults wield shovels and sturdy backpacks as they get down to the state-sanctioned business of planting trees. "Plant more trees, have less babies" the text bleats as the creatures go about their antic labors. Though the images are often hilariously goofy and cartoonish, the message is hardcore. As terse as road signs, the billboards warn: Procreate with caution.

The cartoonish quality is only amplified by blue mountains that roll like animated waves in the distance and a demonically happy tone that would be hard to replicate in real life.

America waged its own eugenics campaign in the beginning of the 20th century, and some of the language that accompanies these signs sounds a similarly "race uplifting" tone in verbiage such as, "The population quality needs to be elevated. Quality births and quality upbringing are essential," or the farmer-friendly analogy, "Harvest depends on quality seed. Having baby! – must have quality not quantity."

Other text strikes a more melancholy note that Western parents may recognize in our own culturally normative two-child standard: "One daughter is half of the sky. When you get old you have someone to take care of you." Though the Chinese government is assuredly bossy and intrusive, few modern American parents are safe from the equally authoritative pronouncements of strangers and family on matters of family size and child rearing.

Though the propaganda pleas are rendered in bright, cheery primary colors – which, depending upon the artist's skill or palette, can stay rudimentary or show some finesse with color and form – the landscapes that surround them are anti-utopian: winter-bare, brown, marred by satellite dishes and trash. The chipped and broken billboards themselves testify to the ravages of weather and the vandals who appear to have driven by with a pistol, registering their own dissatisfaction with government policy. Over time, ads for tow trucks and other capitalist services have similarly defaced the works.

Though the Western tendency will be to scoff at such crude and overt transmissions of government mandate, there is an undeniable tang of the familiar. American roadsides are also littered with billboards promising happiness from a variety of sources but absent the bullying official policy.

Every artist and global thinker worth his/her salt seems abuzz these days about China-in-transition. The country is a vast, tantalizing and scary wonderland: a place of rampant corruption, mind-blowing progress, epic pollution, civil-rights abuses and a culture even more prone to self-invention, denial and the mantra of progress-above-everything than even America. America as seen through a fun-house mirror at hyperspeed, contemporary China is a cautionary tale of America's future.

Also on display with A Billion to One is an earlier body of work, Image of the Red Era, also centered on China's public communication of state policy. In friezelike black-and-white images, Chongyue photographs the ancient "propaganda walls" carved long ago with the edicts of Chinese policy. Over the years, the walls have become palimpsests, layered with more carving and then plastered with paper advertisements in recent years. A round mirror hung or leaned against the walls reflects the camera, and at one point the photographer himself, to suggest yet another layer of commentary.

The ancient text and the more modern billboards that might seem benign suddenly feel dire in Chongyue's hands. In photographing these ever-changing Chinese policies and dicta, Chongyue shows how actual people are always left out of the equation."
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That is, unless you are Beijing photographer He Chongyue.

Chongyue has found something both sinister and quaint by the rural Chinese roadside. ''A Billion to One: Dictated Parenthood and the Feudal Mind'' is Chongyue's illuminating photo essay on how China's one-child policy initiated in the 1970s found expression in the government billboards from the late '70s and '80s that herald to passing drivers the population-control party line. The billboards advertise state-mandated happiness, with Big Brother sweetly dictating the rules of the game.

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Happy children hold hands in a celebration of bright tomorrows, and parents hoist pigtailed only children ornamented with red ribbons rewarding them, like 4-H livestock, for their savvy family planning. Several of the children hold a trio of balloons in visual affirmation of the holy trinity of mother, father and single child. Flowers, birds, oceans and other pleasant set design strike a note of righteously achieved procreative bliss.

A Smurflike sense of utopian, communally achieved happiness unfolds in many of the images. On one billboard, children with the truncated bodies of miniature adults wield shovels and sturdy backpacks as they get down to the state-sanctioned business of planting trees. "Plant more trees, have less babies" the text bleats as the creatures go about their antic labors. Though the images are often hilariously goofy and cartoonish, the message is hardcore. As terse as road signs, the billboards warn: Procreate with caution.

The cartoonish quality is only amplified by blue mountains that roll like animated waves in the distance and a demonically happy tone that would be hard to replicate in real life.

America waged its own eugenics campaign in the beginning of the 20th century, and some of the language that accompanies these signs sounds a similarly "race uplifting" tone in verbiage such as, "The population quality needs to be elevated. Quality births and quality upbringing are essential," or the farmer-friendly analogy, "Harvest depends on quality seed. Having baby! – must have quality not quantity."

Other text strikes a more melancholy note that Western parents may recognize in our own culturally normative two-child standard: "One daughter is half of the sky. When you get old you have someone to take care of you." Though the Chinese government is assuredly bossy and intrusive, few modern American parents are safe from the equally authoritative pronouncements of strangers and family on matters of family size and child rearing.

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That is, unless you are Beijing photographer He Chongyue.

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The cartoonish quality is only amplified by blue mountains that roll like animated waves in the distance and a demonically happy tone that would be hard to replicate in real life.

America waged its own eugenics campaign in the beginning of the 20th century, and some of the language that accompanies these signs sounds a similarly "race uplifting" tone in verbiage such as, "The population quality needs to be elevated. Quality births and quality upbringing are essential," or the farmer-friendly analogy, "Harvest depends on quality seed. Having baby! – must have quality not quantity."

Other text strikes a more melancholy note that Western parents may recognize in our own culturally normative two-child standard: "One daughter is half of the sky. When you get old you have someone to take care of you." Though the Chinese government is assuredly bossy and intrusive, few modern American parents are safe from the equally authoritative pronouncements of strangers and family on matters of family size and child rearing.

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Though the Western tendency will be to scoff at such crude and overt transmissions of government mandate, there is an undeniable tang of the familiar. American roadsides are also littered with billboards promising happiness from a variety of sources but absent the bullying official policy.

Every artist and global thinker worth his/her salt seems abuzz these days about China-in-transition. The country is a vast, tantalizing and scary wonderland: a place of rampant corruption, mind-blowing progress, epic pollution, civil-rights abuses and a culture even more prone to self-invention, denial and the mantra of progress-above-everything than even America. America as seen through a fun-house mirror at hyperspeed, contemporary China is a cautionary tale of America's future.

Also on display with A Billion to One is an earlier body of work, Image of the Red Era, also centered on China's public communication of state policy. In friezelike black-and-white images, Chongyue photographs the ancient "propaganda walls" carved long ago with the edicts of Chinese policy. Over the years, the walls have become palimpsests, layered with more carving and then plastered with paper advertisements in recent years. A round mirror hung or leaned against the walls reflects the camera, and at one point the photographer himself, to suggest yet another layer of commentary.

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Wednesday October 24, 2007 12:04 am EDT
Beijing photographer He Chongyue reveals a China at a crossroads | more...
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Cinema Remixed blends generations and approaches, from the funny, pop-culture savvy work of Jessica Ann Peavy to the earthy, documentary-style approach of Camille Billops. Billops' 1987 "Older Women and Love" features matter-of-fact but subversive interviews with women of a certain age who speak frankly about their sexuality.

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Wednesday October 17, 2007 12:04 am EDT
Cinema Remixed cross-cuts between artistic generations | more...
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  string(2555) "Say "straight edge" and a certain kind of person may come to mind: cool, copiously tattooed with some involvement in the punk and hardcore music scene.

Former Atlanta- and now New York-based photographer Raymond McCrea Jones' mission in Out of Step: Faces of Straight Edge at Young Blood Gallery is clearly to broaden our conception of what straight edge means. A loosely defined lifestyle organized around abstinence from casual sex, drugs and alcohol, the credo also advocates for environmental issues and abstinence from meat and dairy consumption. Jones' carefully composed black-and-white photographs share certain affinities; most of his subjects stare straight at the camera in an expression that begins to feel laced with a component of defensiveness and perhaps even a hint of pathos. The title of the show, from the Minor Threat song that crystallized the movement, gives a sense of just how far apart from the norm these men and women can be, despite an array of occupations and lifestyles that resist easy compartmentalization.

There is often, when a group of people decides to separate themselves from the culture, a feeling of a painful or difficult back story to that separation. A Philadelphia graphic artist, for instance, wears a messenger bag whose illustration of a black sheep fleeing a white herd amplifies his difference, even as his back turned to the camera echoes his turn away from the culture at large.

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Out of Step: Faces of Straight Edge. Through Oct. 28. Wed. and Fri, noon-6 p.m.; Thurs., noon-7 p.m; Fri. and Sat., noon-5 p.m. Young Blood Gallery, 629 Glenwood Ave. 404-627-0393. www.youngbloodgallery.com."
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There is often, when a group of people decides to separate themselves from the culture, a feeling of a painful or difficult back story to that separation. A Philadelphia graphic artist, for instance, wears a messenger bag whose illustration of a black sheep fleeing a white herd amplifies his difference, even as his back turned to the camera echoes his turn away from the culture at large.

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Out of Step: Faces of Straight Edge. ''Through Oct. 28. Wed. and Fri, noon-6 p.m.; Thurs., noon-7 p.m; Fri. and Sat., noon-5 p.m. Young Blood Gallery, 629 Glenwood Ave. 404-627-0393. [http://www.youngbloodgallery.com/|www.youngbloodgallery.com].''"
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Former Atlanta- and now New York-based photographer Raymond McCrea Jones' mission in Out of Step: Faces of Straight Edge at Young Blood Gallery is clearly to broaden our conception of what straight edge means. A loosely defined lifestyle organized around abstinence from casual sex, drugs and alcohol, the credo also advocates for environmental issues and abstinence from meat and dairy consumption. Jones' carefully composed black-and-white photographs share certain affinities; most of his subjects stare straight at the camera in an expression that begins to feel laced with a component of defensiveness and perhaps even a hint of pathos. The title of the show, from the Minor Threat song that crystallized the movement, gives a sense of just how far apart from the norm these men and women can be, despite an array of occupations and lifestyles that resist easy compartmentalization.

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Article

Wednesday October 10, 2007 12:04 am EDT
Young Blood takes a pulse on the 'straight edge' scene | more...