Category Archives: Art Link

No more blue dogs….

Blue Dog No More

All dogs go to heaven, especially blue ones painted by Louisiana artist, George Rodrique, 1944-2013. Sadly, we learned over the weekend the iconic artist and his Cajun symbol, the Blue Dog, died at age 69, in Houston, Texas, from a long struggle with cancer.

Rodrique recreated Louisiana’s exalted cajun loup-garou (werewolf legend) into a pop art icon, the Blue Dog. For years people marveled at the folk-art style paintings of a blue dog on vivid pink or green background surrounded by simple colorful flowers and indigenous trees. The canvases were famously viewed and sold in New Orleans and Los Angeles galleries. Neiman-Marcus sold Blue Dog prints and original paintings in their exclusive Christmas catalog.

Who was George Rodrique, the artist and, what was his story?

Rodrique was born in New Iberia, Louisiana, and studied art in his home state and at the prestigious  Art Center College of Design in Pasadena.  His signature theme was Cajun landscapes and Cajun folk art traditions. When he was commissioned to paint a Cajun ghost story in 1988, the artist remembered the warnings of his mother. If he didn’t behave, the werewolf would get him. To finish the commission he used the dog in his studio as his model and what was to be the focal point of the painting narrative. The stories and paintings became the Blue Dog series. Why they were blue we can only guess. Was it Rodrique’s early folk art influence or, perhaps like Andy Warhol and Peter Max, bright colors fit into the 80’s pop culture genre of disco gaudiness.  After the Blue Dogs were exhibited in Los Angeles, George Rodrique was forever identified with the blue canine. He then spent years explaining and defending his popular blue dog series in the name of ‘fine art.’

It just so happens, last summer on a marathon road trip through the South, I found myself in Lafayette, Louisiana, at the Blue Dog Cafe, George Rodrique’s stomping grounds. The Cajun influenced restaurant walls were covered with Blue Dogs and Rodrique’s Cajun landscapes. It was hard to tell if anyone was aware they were dining under world renowned art works. People in Lafayette are obviously accustomed to the Blue Dog. I was the only tourist running around the dining area trying to capture individual works on my little camera. Food, not art in the restaurant, was definitely the focus.

My brother informed me the restaurant menu was not necessarily influenced by the artist, nor was it founded on Rodrique family recipes. The restaurant simply paid to use the artist’s name (he is tenderly known in every nook & cranny in the Bayou country) and agreed to hang his work. Whatever, or however they were there, I was definitely impressed to be sitting under probably one hundred (big & small) Rodrique paintings.  At the same time I questioned who hung the varied collection. They were hung randomly side by side, high and low with little thought for presentation or lighting. The framing was atrocious. It horrified me but like the merits of the southern fried pie, the pie itself is damn good. You can’t buy a blue dog at the 7-11 but you can buy an abundance of locally made fried pies. These half-moons of heaven are filled with creamy fillings of chocolate, apples, peaches, lemon custard tucked inside a brown, crispy-flaky pinched pie crust glazed with crunchy sugar icing, I regress. It stands alone just like the blue dog paintings in the cafe.

The photos I took above were on the walls, within half way decent shooting distance to avoid disturbing the hearty eaters who didn’t even flinch nor look up from their plates as I scooted behind them. God Bless the Blue Dog and George Rodrique. We were in Louisiana for God’s Sake. Here’s what we had to eat.

We’d been on the road for 9 hours when we arrived at the Blue Dog Cafe. I had resisted a fried pie from Dallas to Alexandria and I was hungry, real hungry the last hour and a half. At the BDC (Blue Dog Cafe) my brother suggested the corn & crab bisque as a starter with a cold beer. No problem. The bisque was creamy and spicy with just enough whole kernel corn to add a hint of real corn flavor; the shredded crab bloated the soup bowl making me wonder did the chef aerate the liquid. It was completely divine with a dash of Louisiana hot sauce and a swig of beer, I was ready for bed.

The main courses we ordered were absolutely cajun inspired. The chicken Bayou Teche was exquisite. This is the description from the menu: Seafood stuffed chicken breast topped with our bacon rotel cream sauce. Served with dirty-dog rice, corn maque choux and vegetable du jour.

My brother had crawfish tasso alfredo sauce. From the menu it said: Crawfish and spicy Poche’s tasso combined in a classic Alfredo cream sauce and served over a bed of angel hair pasta with vegetable du jour. Pasta with a Cajun twist!

Chip who is forever fat, mega-3, trans-fat and salt conscious splurged a little on the blackened catfish. His was the lowest calorie count on the menu but was super delicious. Menu description:  Louisiana Catfish fillet, seasoned with a special spices then seared to get that zesty blackened flavor. Served alongside angel hair pasta with a lemon butter sauce and vegetable du jour. Side note. We took the leftovers home and somewhere in Mississippi the next day we opened the heavenly scented styrofoam container. The one who watched his calorie intake the night before oohed & aahed and longed for more crawfish tasso aflredo.

I didn’t get my fried pie (lemon is my favorite) that long travel day, but at the BDC we settled on sharing the bread pudding with pecan praline sauce. So everlastingly tasty, sweet and rich and plenty to savor until next trip to Blue Dog country.

God Bless, George Rodrique. Not many artists become an icon, create an icon or choose to live in bayou country with mysteriously, beloved blue dogs. For this artist the bayou was the beginning and end to his remarkable life. Thank you, George, for bringing such happiness and recognition to Louisiana through your art. R.I.P. the world will take good care of your beautiful blue dogs.

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Who follows our Facebook Page?


Art People at the Sandy Carson / Denver Art Students League Gallery on Santa Fe, March 1, 2013

I bet you’re saying to yourself, it’s about time Denver Art Matters posted something. Has Jan turned into a slacker?

If you’re asking that, I know you’re not a Facebook fan and you’re not following my Denver Art Matters Facebook page. If that’s you, let me explain.  I find it informative to follow FB pages from museums, art districts, artists, galleries, and momentous blogs. The ones that I follow highlight interesting art stories that include links on extraordinary art journeys from the world of art.  If you are following us on Facebook you know I’ve posted a lot of information on the Month of Photography in Denver. If you were interested in visiting the galleries featuring photographers, it was posted on the Denver Art Matters Facebook page.

Here’s the hoedown. Facebook like it or not, is the social media / networking portal sharing information on every subject under the sun. It’s no wonder newspapers and magazines are suffering.  Posts from Facebook, Google +, tumblr, wordpress, blogspot, etc., travel effortlessly to your screen with timely information from Denver to Denmark. I follow many blogs that interest me because as a self appointed Denver art blabber it’s my job to bring my readers the most important art stories in Denver; Colorado, and the world. If you are reading this and you’re not on Facebook, it’s difficult to explain how it works. Let me try. For instance, I follow the Museum of Contemporary Art Facebook page. When they post a new exhibit or lecture on their page, it automatically shows up on my personal Facebook feed. When I see it, if I like it and want to share it with my readers, I click ‘share’ to my Denver Art Matters page. DAM followers see it immediately. Unfortunately, I may not recreate their post on my blog If you follow my DAM wordpress (thank you for that) and not the Facebook page, you would not see the post about the upcoming MoCA event on my wordpress Denver Art Matters blog. Is this complicated?  Here’s another example,  I saw the MoMA post about Jasper Johns & Robert Rauschenberg the day before I posted it to my DAM Facebook page.  I never recreated it for my blog. Reason being, by the end of the day, it was too late because the cyber world had already heard the question about putting the two artists back in the closet. It may appear unfair that someone creates a meaningful, newsworthy, important post and then I repost it to my readers.  However, the rules are different in social media.  Sharing is encouraged, that’s where the word exponential comes in – rapid travel.  If a news item is posted on Facebook, the post originator hopes many people, like me, share it with you. When a news item is synced the post will go back at some point to the original author, therefore going viral or – spreading exponentially.

Whew. I’m trying to explain this in layman terms. If you’re not following Denver Art Matters Facebook page I wish you would. My intent with this post is to explain why my blog sometimes seems inactive, yet my Facebook page is constantly updated. I want you to see the latest Denver Art babble and I’m working to present that to you. If you’re not a fan of the Denver Art Matters FB page – please go there and click LIKE. That will send you all the news I post immediately.


Walker Fine Art, Denver, March 1, 2013.

Great Sunday read

“I Noticed My Friends”: Allen Ginsberg’s Photography

Allen Ginsberg, "Myself seen by William Burroughs..." (1953, printed 1984–97). National Gallery of Art, Gift of Gary S. Davis.  Images (All images © 2012 Allen Ginsberg LLC. All rights reserved.)

Allen Ginsberg, “Myself seen by William Burroughs…” (1953, printed 1984–97). (All images National Gallery of Art, Gift of Gary S. Davis; © 2012 Allen Ginsberg LLC. All rights reserved.)

In his poem “America” (1956) Allen Ginsberg addresses the nation as if it were a codependent lover, asking, “Are you going to let your emotional life be run by Time Magazine?” followed immediately by the confession, “I’m obsessed by Time Magazine. I read it every week.”

This combination of confrontation, wit, ferocity, self-examination and intelligence remain exceptional qualities in American poetry, even today. However, since his death in 1997, Allen Ginsberg’s celebrity overshadows his poetry. No wonder. He was arguably the most public poet in all of American history. He was the award-winning counter-culturist, a pioneering leader on gay rights, an outspoken opponent of the police state and its techniques of lies, repression and censorship, the godfather of spoken word and street poetics, a teacher and supporter of up-and-coming poets and artists as well as a spokesman for neglected peers. He was a conscientious objector, the practicing Tibetan Buddhist who never quite left behind the pragmatic chutzpah of his native New Jersey, or his Judaism, emerging in the 1960s as an often interviewed advocate for far-left progressivism in an age of American reactionary politics.

These days Ginsberg’s poetry isn’t completely neglected. But its content and range are subsumed by the legacy of these famous interests, many of them propagated in documentaries over the last few decades and even in film adaptations of his life, like the recent Howl (2010) and On the Road(2012).

At first glance, Beat Memories: The Photographs of Allen Ginsberg at the Grey Gallery seems like yet another nostalgic trip that will further eclipse the poetry. In actuality, this exhibition of 94 black-and-white photographs, taken by Ginsberg in the periods 1951–1963 and 1984–1996 offers a chance to reassess Ginsberg as an introspective poet who cultivated patient and caring witness even as he lived forcefully and at large. Overall, the photographs reflect a documentarian’s attention to an epoch’s unpredictable arrival and then, more subtly, an equal and more complicated attention to that same generation’s fadeout.

Because I began viewing the show at the wrong end of its neatly curated timeline, the first picture I saw was a harrowing portrait of Ginsberg’s aunt near death in late 1980s, followed by a photograph of his lover Peter Orlovsky, seated alongside his family near a social welfare office on Long Island. Ginsberg’s portraits of Orlovsky are highlights of the show as they correspond to the changes of period and lifestyle, permutations reflected in Orlovsky’s mysterious shape-shifting appearances. He emerges as muse and marks the site at which Ginsberg’s private life bleeds into the public.

Ginsberg’s almost paternal pride in the poet Gregory Corso is a subject of a number of photographs. Ginsberg discovered Corso shortly after the latter had served a three-year stint in Clinton Prison for theft. A serene photograph shows a seated, confident Gregory Corso — his overcoat draped over his shoulders, his hand holding a curtain rod like a weapon — underneath a sunlit window frame in a Parisian garret. The image provides a startling contrast to a close-up of a tired and rotund Corso which Ginsberg snapped in the mid 1990s at Kettle of Fish bar. Similarly, two separate photographs of Jack Kerouac crystalize the peripatetic drive of these young poets and writers long before they had been loaded down with the media label “Beats,” a label that curator Sarah Greenough expediently if unfortunately perpetuates in the exhibition’s title.

The vitality of their youth is hard to miss. Even the young Ginsberg living through it sensed its inimitability. A rooftop photo of clean-shaven bespectacled Ginsberg taken by William Burroughs shows the poet against a backdrop of television antennas, chimneys, and skyscrapers. A photo of Jack Kerouac shows him mugging an “Om” as he strolls by Tompkins Square Park in 1953, and, in another, from that same year, Kerouac is in profile, silhouetted against the granular wood boards of the Staten Island Ferry pier, like an extra from Kazan’s On the Waterfront.

Allen Ginsberg, "Jack Kerouac wandering along East 7th Street after visiting Burroughs at our pad, passing statue of Congressman Samuel "Sunset" Cox, “The Letter-Carrier's Friend” in Tompkins Square toward corner of Avenue A, Lower East Side; he’s making a Dostoyevsky mad-face or Russian basso be-bop Om, first walking around the neighborhood, then involved with The Subterraneans, pencils & notebook in wool shirt-pockets, Fall 1953, Manhattan." (1953), Gelatin silver print, printed 1984–97 11 1/2 x 17 3/4 in. (29.2 x 45.1 cm), National Gallery of Art, Gift of Gary S. Davis © 2012 Allen Ginsberg LLC. All rights reserved.

Allen Ginsberg, “Jack Kerouac wandering along East 7th Street after visiting Burroughs at our pad, passing statue of Congressman Samuel ‘Sunset’ Cox, ‘The Letter-Carrier’s Friend’ in Tompkins Square toward corner of Avenue A, Lower East Side; he’s making a Dostoyevsky mad-face or Russian basso be-bop Om, first walking around the neighborhood, then involved with The Subterraneans, pencils & notebook in wool shirt-pockets, Fall 1953, Manhattan.” (1953). Gelatin silver print, printed 1984–97, 11 1/2 x 17 3/4 in. (29.2 x 45.1 cm).

In hindsight, those two youthful photos become a prologue for Ginsberg’s wrenching 1964 photograph of a candid, disheveled Kerouac slumped in an easy chair surrounded by luggage in the poet’s East 7th Street apartment, staring away from the camera as if in self-disgust. The now world-famous Kerouac looks, in the captions scrawled by Ginsberg, like “WC Fields…red-faced corpulent shudder with mortal horror.” Here, the photo seems to say, are the strange fruits of fame.

Although the exhibition is crowded by some already iconic images, like novelist Paul Bowles seated barefoot on the ground in Tangier looking up from a bowl and spoon, the show’s strongest appeal is the incidental and often euphoric moments that Ginsberg preserves: Orlovsky sky-high as he cannonballs upside down into a pond in Cherry Hill; Poet Gary Snyder, crew cut and priestly robed, flashing an ironic yet innocent gaze from a lush Kyoto garden; Keith Haring, like a schoolyard showman, drawing on a sidewalk in Lawrence, Kansas; Lou Reed backstage at the Public Theater unwittingly gazing in the precisely opposite direction of Samuel Beckett’s visage on a nearby playbill.

A few photographs transcend their well-known subjects and suggest that had Ginsberg decided to give up writing poetry, he might well have made a run at being a full-time, master portraitist. And like the cameraman himself, the pictures traverse the globe: Japan, India, Morocco, Paris, Zurich, New York, Yosemite, San Francisco. A self-portrait reflected through multiple angles and mirrors taken at an optometrist’s office in the 1980s exhibits an almost indescribable facetiousness, much like Ginsberg’s long-distance shot of a skinny, isolated and atypically vulnerable William Burroughs, his boney head bowed under the spotlights as he prepares to be filmed for an interview. Burroughs is perhaps the most overexposed subject of the photographs, but there are fortunately many surprises.

Allen Ginsberg, "Francesco Clemente looking over hand-script album with new poem I’d written out for his Blake-inspired watercolor illuminations, we’d done two books before; entrance corner of his loft overlooking Great Jones Street Manhattan, October 1984. He liked this picture." (1984) Gelatin silver print, printed 1984–97 15 7/8 x 10 5/8 in. (40.4 x 27 cm)

Allen Ginsberg, “Francesco Clemente looking over hand-script album with new poem I’d written out for his Blake-inspired watercolor illuminations, we’d done two books before; entrance corner of his loft overlooking Great Jones Street Manhattan, October 1984. He liked this picture.” (1984). Gelatin silver print, printed 1984–97, 15 7/8 x 10 5/8 in. (40.4 x 27 cm).

A marvelous picture of the painter Francesco Clemente shows him seated in front of an oversized book his head half in shadow as sunlight plays upon the bare wall behind him. Clemente looks like a Benedictine monk transposed into a still from a Godard film. A photograph of the poet’s elderly grandmother, Rebecca Ginsberg, is aimed upward from the dining table, its stylized, enclosed composition stripping any sentimentality from the homey setting. The woman’s white blouse, white curtain and white tablecloth intensify the darker surfaces, evoking a paradoxical absence within her aged presence. Or is it the absence of Ginsberg’s long-mourned mother that haunts the photo?

Allen Ginsberg, "Rebecca Ginsberg, Buba, wife of Pincus, laundry-man later tobacco-store owner, my paternal grandmother (b. Russia near Kaminetz-Podolska May 1869–d. July 1962) visiting her elder son Louis’ house, here 84 years old at table for Seder preparations. She’d attended Adult Education English classes in Newark 14 years earlier, written patriotic essay declaring “God Blast America!” Younger son Uncle Abe & daughters Aunt Rose, Clara & H.S. teacher Hannah were her children. Dining room 428 East 34th Street, Paterson New Jersey April 1953." (1953) Gelatin silver print, printed 1984–97 6 1/2 x 9 1/2 in. (16.5 x 24.2 cm)

Allen Ginsberg, “Rebecca Ginsberg, Buba, wife of Pincus, laundry-man later tobacco-store owner, my paternal grandmother (b. Russia near Kaminetz-Podolska May 1869–d. July 1962) visiting her elder son Louis’ house, here 84 years old at table for Seder preparations. She’d attended Adult Education English classes in Newark 14 years earlier, written patriotic essay declaring “God Blast America!” Younger son Uncle Abe & daughters Aunt Rose, Clara & H.S. teacher Hannah were her children. Dining room 428 East 34th Street, Paterson New Jersey April 1953.” (1953). Gelatin silver print, printed 1984–97, 6 1/2 x 9 1/2 in. (16.5 x 24.2 cm)

At their best these pictures show how photography is a celebration within a rite of mourning. And if photography prolongs a lived moment that vanishes as soon as it arrives, Ginsberg sensed how better suited photography than writing can be to that impulse. The self-portraits punctuate the exhibition without competing with the portraits, so that Ginsberg appears, and ages, at steady intervals, like an affable but unobtrusive host at a party floating in and out of rooms. These self-portraits, which tend toward comedy and eroticism, in the later pictures are marked by Ginsberg’s almost desperate need to show off his body as an avatar of impermanence. There are also flashes of playful narcissism: who else but Ginsberg would attire himself in an expensive Irish tweed suit and florid Oleg Cassini tie while making note that he got the latter from a goodwill shop?

In contrast to his famously hyperbolic statements about his generation, these photographs seem like a secret visual diary filled with more complex realizations about his life and times, a quality underscored by the meticulous and poetic captions Ginsberg supplies beneath the prints. For instance, the late middle-aged painter Larry Rivers, dressed in a sleeveless T-shirt in a large Southampton studio after a weightlifting session, is captured looking more perplexed than self-possessed. A homeless, bearded and straggly Harry Smith, the ethnomusicologist, recovering from having nearly been run over by a car, sits with head bowed at Ginsberg’s table, withdrawing from the camera’s attention. Smith’s wild gray hair and drawn, severe facial features lend him a grandeur at odds with his victimhood. I sense Ginsberg took the photo because the moment was beyond words.

Allen Ginsberg, "I sat for decades at morning breakfast tea looking out my kitchen window, one day recognized my own world the familiar background, a giant wet brick-walled undersea Atlantis garden, waving ailanthus (“stinkweed”) “Trees of Heaven,” with chimney pots along Avenue A topped by Stuyvesant Town apartments’ upper floors two blocks distant on 14th Street, I focus’d on the raindrops along the clothesline. “Things are symbols of themselves,” said Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche. New York City August 18, 1984," (1984) Gelatin silver print, printed 1984–97 16 1/2 x 11 in. (42 x 28 cm)

Allen Ginsberg, “I sat for decades at morning breakfast tea looking out my kitchen window, one day recognized my own world the familiar background, a giant wet brick-walled undersea Atlantis garden, waving ailanthus (“stinkweed”) “Trees of Heaven,” with chimney pots along Avenue A topped by Stuyvesant Town apartments’ upper floors two blocks distant on 14th Street, I focus’d on the raindrops along the clothesline. “Things are symbols of themselves,” said Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche. New York City August 18, 1984,” (1984), Gelatin silver print, printed 1984–97, 16 1/2 x 11 in. (42 x 28 cm)

Perhaps the most evocative portraits in the show are those without Ginsberg or anyone else in them, particularly a series capturing the Lower East Side streetscape looking north from Ginsberg’s longest residence at 437 East 12th Street. In one such vista, a sunflower competes with the view while in another a layer of snow encrusts the tenements and fire escapes. In yet another, a rainstorm has passed and the poet’s caption describes the backyards as a “walled undersea Atlantis” with “waving ailanthus, ‘stinkweed’.” That photo’s focal point might easily be missed where it not for Ginsberg’s note: the raindrops on a clothesline. Ginsberg’s caption quotes his Buddhist mentor Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche: “Things are symbols of themselves.” As I trained my eyes on the clothesline, I felt the presence of Ginsberg more strongly than at any point during the exhibition. It was the invisible poet, at home, pointing out the rope strung between buildings, spotted by a row of raindrops about to fall.

Beat Memories: The Photographs of Allen Ginsberg continues at Grey Art Gallery through April 6.

Tagged as: Allen GinsbergBeat GenerationGrey Art Galleryphotography

And the art world soars financially.

Steve Wynn Paid $33.7 Million For Jeff Koons‘ Gigantic ‘Tulips’ Sculpture

Julie Zeveloff | Feb. 4, 2013, 11:20 AM | 

Jeff Koons’ giant steel sculpture “Tulips” sold to an anonymous buyer for $33.7 million during Christie’s post-war and contemporary art sale last fall.

It turns out the buyer was hotel mogul Steve Wynn, who unveiled the three-ton sculpture in the rotunda of the Wynn Theater in Las Vegas last week, The Las Vegas Review-Journal reported.

Wynn is a prolific art collector. He was rumored to have spent $40 million on Dale Chiluly’s glass-blown masterpiece “Fiori di Como, which hangs from the ceiling of the lobby at the Bellagio, and spent a record $12.8 million on a pair of Chinese vases to display in his Macau resort.

He also notoriously put his elbow through Picasso’sLe Rêve,” for which he paid around $60 million.

Read more:

Haddon ‘Santa Claus’ Sundblom

Coca-Cola-Art_Christmas_Santa10                                                              by Thomas Nast

Top:  Loveable ‘Santa’ by Haddon Sundblom, for Coca-Cola.

Bottom: By Thomas Nast, 1862, for Harper’s Magazine.

Don’t know about you, but I clung to my Santa beliefs way too long. Even now, I believe Santa Claus is the man in the beautiful Christmas illustrations drinking a bottle of Coke. He was a mysterious man who shushed the dogs as he snuck into every child’s living room to fill the stockings.  The image we carry today of the jolly, generous, sweet faced, rolly-polly man named Santa Claus was a amalgamation of three artists imagination: Clement Moore, Thomas Nast and Haddon Sundblom.

In 1931, Coca-Cola, of Atlanta, Georgia commissioned Haddon Sundblom to create a Christmas ad campaign first published in the Saturday Evening Post.  The well-known illustrator conjured his character from Clement Moore’s description of a jolly ole Saint Nicholas from his Christmas poem, of 1822, “Twas the Night Before Christmas,” and, from the 1862 Thomas Nast wood engraving of Santa Claus, commissioned during the Civil War by Harper’s magazine for it’s December cover. Nast can be referred to as the creator of what has become the American Saint Nicholas we know today.  Sundblom improved it.  He took each Santa image he knew and added the personality and cheery persona of one of his best friends, Lou Prentice, a fellow Chicago advertising colleague. Emphasizing the well-known round rosy cheeks and a white beard, Sundblom painted the quintessential image of good cheer and the happy glow of families at home at Christmas time.

Sundblom was a natural artist. Not only did he create our beloved Christmas icon but he also created the icons Aunt Jemima and the Quaker Oats Quaker. He was influenced by 20th century greats such as Howard Pyle, John Singer Sargent, Robert Henri, Anders Zorn, Joaquin Sorolla, who were known as practitioners of an art style familiar to the Impressionists called ‘alla prima’ or ‘the first stroke technique.’  It’s described as a technique where an artist consciously lays down the fewest strokes in the quickest time to ‘sufficiently describe moving targets.’  Legendary stories tell of Sundblom finishing a painting in one sitting.

The words below describe America’s favorite Christmas icon.

“His eyes-how they twinkled! his dimples how merry!
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
And the beard of his chin was as white as the snow.”


A Sundblom illustration/advertisement featuring Aunt Jemima.

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Clever Art Forger would turn 114 today – Happy Birthday, Rene

From the Huffington Post
This is more interesting than anything I could say….

Today is the birthday of Belgian surrealistRene Magritte. Born on this day in 1898, the man with an amusing predilection for bowler hats would turn 114 years old if he were miraculously alive.

rene magritte

Los Angeles, UNITED STATES: Gallery security guard J. Dulay poses beside ‘Decalcomania’ (‘La Decalcomanie’) by Belgian surrealist artist Rene Magritte (1898-1967). AFP PHOTO / Robyn BECK/Getty Images.

Magritte began making art in 1916, creating paintings similar in style to Impressionist masters. The following year, he enrolled at Académie Royale des Beaux-Arts in Brussels, moving more in the direction of Futurist and Cubist artists like Jean Metzinger. It wasn’t until 1926 that Magritte produced his first Surrealist work, “The Lost Jockey,” launching his association with Andre Breton‘s circle in Paris.

The young artist threw himself full force into the manifesto-making sentiments of the Surrealists. With the exception of a brief painterly detour known as his “Renoir Period,” Magritte became known for his provocative pieces incorporating ordinary objects into unusual spaces. One of his most famous works, “The Treachery of Images,” plays on the tendency of works to deceive as it features a painting of a lone pipe with the caption, “Ceci n’est pas une pipe” (“This is not a pipe”).

rene magritte

‘Le Beau Navire’, a painting by artist Rene Magritte, was on display at Sotheby’s during a preview, January 20, 2010, in New York. AFP PHOTO/Emmanuel Dunand/Getty Images.Though Magritte is now famous for his mystifying paintings, during his life the Brussels based artist allegedly supported himself at times through the production of fake works by Picasso and Braques. His clever art forgeries later turned into forged banknotes, featuring King Leopold of Belgium smoking a pipe, which highlights the smirky-worthy deceit present in nearly everything Magritte touched. The feisty artist painted well into his later life, exhibiting a major retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art shortly before his death in 1968. His work has since received widespread attention across the globe, inspiring artists from Jeff Beck toJean-Luc Godard.
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Loveland Artists swarm Little Rock, Arkansas

Photo of Little Rock, Arkansas, 

from the West, October 22, 2012.

Marble sculpture

by Michael Warrick, Little Rock.

Is there anything in the whole world better than old friends? I think not. I had the distinct pleasure last week of seeing childhood friends in Little Rock and at the same time, seeing friends from my Art Revue Magazine days in Loveland.

In October I had free time on my hands. My oldest friend in Benton, Arkansas, needed help with her campaign in the small city south of Little Rock. I pulled dates out of a hat for the best airfare then luckily landed in Little Rock the week of the sculpture show.

What I loved most about the River Market Sculpture Show, every sculptor I spoke to loved Little Rock. I’ve always found it hard to believe people do not know Little Rock, Arkansas, and most have never been there. Just to let you know, it’s a beautiful city with the Arkansas River running through it and like Denver, it sits under a classic cityscape and growing art community. The Clinton Library sits on the river at the East end of the River Market area in downtown. The revitalized neighborhood is alive with restaurants, bars, clubs and hotels.  In the last ten years the city has created a beautiful walk along the river banks dotted with sculpture, most of them Colorado artists.

I walked into the pavillion on the last day of the show. The first people I saw were Adam Schultz and Lori Acott, and in no particular order Pati Stajcar, Kim Shaklee, Dee Clements, Mark Hopkins, Michael & Shelley Buonaiuto, Sandy Scott, Tim Cherry, Wayne Salge, Kevin & Diane Robb, Kathleen Caricof, Denny Haskew, Mark Leichliter, Jane Decker’s brother, Ron Chapel – won the 2012, $50,000 commission at the show, Clay Enoch and John Sewell.

All those familiar faces from two distinct areas of my life was just enough to make me lightheaded, considering my cold and all, you can understand my confusion. Here I was in my beloved Little Rock with childhood friends beside me while talking to Dee & Kevin & Denny & Sandy…I had to stop and remember where I was again & again. It was a great homecoming and a humbling reconnect with the many friends I made in Loveland years ago. Together, during those years, 1990-2004, when Loveland was finding its niche we became an art community and I like to think we all helped in our own way to put Loveland on the art map.

From L to R: Sandy Scott’s pig. Adam Schultz and Lori Alcott.

Take a look:

Authentic Southern art: Coconut Cream Pie from Ed & Kay’s in Benton, Arkansas.

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Gullah Sensibilities & African American Spirituals

“Frogmore Crossing”
Artist: Jonathan Green

Spirituals Project founder Dr. Arthur C. Jones, along with members of Sankofa: An Ensemble of The Spirituals Project will present “Gullah Sensibilities & African American Spirituals” on Friday, September 21, 2012 as part of Johnson Legacy, Inc. and RedLine’s Gullah/Geechee Cultural Celebration & Exhibition,The Water Brought Us: Passport to Africa in America.

This series of events runs from September 7 – 22, and celebrates the unique culture of the Gullah/Geechee people with art, music and workshops. Click here for a full list of programs and events in the series.

Included in the series is an exhibition of the work of Jonathan Green, considered one of the most important painters of the southern experience and Gullah culture.

Join us for this one-of-a kind celebration of Gullah/Geechee Culture. Full Passports for all events in the series are available at Early Bird pricing.

Johnson Legacy, Inc.  720.301.1883 | RedLine  303.296.4448

The RedLine Gallery is at the top of Denver gallery stops. By hosting The Jonathan Green exhibit in Denver they bring a rare glimpse into an obscure southern history far removed from say, Atlanta, Chicago or New York City. The language, the traditions, the food of the Gullah culture represent an important segment of American history, not just for Southerners.

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FYI: Deadline, Monday, August 13, 2012 – fabulous opportunity artists….



Enter Southwest Art’s 2012 Artistic Excellence Competition, for a chance to win cash and gain valuable exposure for your work.


First Place Award: $2,000
Second Place Award: $1,000
Third Place Award: $500
10 Honorable Mentions: $100 worth of North Light Books

The 13 winning artists will be published in the December 2012 issue of Southwest Art and on our website. PLUS one lucky winner will be chosen for that issue’s cover art. All winners and finalists will receive a certificate suitable for framing.

Deadline: August 13, 2012


The contest is open to artists in the U.S. and abroad. All works must be original. Compositions based on published material or other artists’ work are NOT considered original and are not eligible. Paintings based on another person’s photograph (even if it’s copyright-free) are NOT eligible. Employees or associates of F+W Media, Inc., or their immediate families may not enter. Southwest Art reserves the right to reject work deemed unsuitable for publication or that does not meet above criteria.

You may enter online or submit via regular mail. All mailed digital files must be accompanied by an Official Entry Form. There is no limit to the number of entries you may submit. If entering by mail, please include a separate sheet that gives the title, medium (oil, watercolor, etc.) and dimensions of each image. There are no limitations to the mediums or dimensions of the art. The file names of the images on the CD must match the titles on the sheet. Please save all images in jpg format.

If your work is selected as a winner, we may contact you about sending a high-res replacement. Incomplete entry forms and information sheets, and improperly marked CDs will be disqualified.

FEES AND PAYMENT: All entries are $25 per image. A credit card number and signature, check or money order for the required jury fee (in U.S. funds drawn on a U.S. bank) must accompany your entry. There will be a $10 charge for returned checks or declined credit cards. Credit cards will be charged within 90 days of contest deadline. Charge will appear as “F+W Contests.”

MATERIALS: CDs will not be returned (so have a duplicate made for your own files). Southwest Art will not be responsible for the loss, damage or return of any CDs submitted to the competition.


Click here to enter online

Click here to download and print an entry form

ATTN: Competitions Dept.
Southwest Art-Artistic Excellence
8469 Blue Ash Road, Suite 100, Cincinnati, OH 45236

DEADLINE: August 13, 2012

Award winners will be chosen by the magazine staff. All properly prepared entries will be viewed and judged.

All winners will be notified by October 1, 2012. The results will not otherwise be made public until they are published in Southwest Art (December 2012 issue). Non-winning entrants will not be individually notified of the results. Your cancelled check or credit-card charge will be notification for receipt of your entry.


Occasionally we make portions of our customer list available to other companies so they may contact you about products and services that may interest you. If you prefer we withhold your name, send a note with your name, address and the competition name to: List Manager, F+W Media, Inc., 10151 Carver Road, Suite 200, Blue Ash, Ohio 45242


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