Conceptual Art

There is the sort of physical and permanent art, well known genres like painting, sculpture, or some such, and then there is the ephemeral conceptual sort of performance art.  And after never being exposed to conceptual art (unless you count those 60’s be-ins), I have recently been to two of this type of event.

What are you looking at?   Why it’s part of a multiple lens camera obscura image of a flowing creek, so the image is upside down.  The artist had manufactured the camera obscura out of plasticized black cardboard, binder clips, nylon fabric, blackout cloth and lenses ingeniously working together to make this ephemeral piece.

Flip the image around and it makes perfect sense.  And it was only there for a limited time, it’s gone now.

And then there was this performance today, which involved a San Francisco artist and free beer (but only one beer, sadly).   I must say that this was a more interesting piece than the previous one in this gallery, which involved real and fake hair going up a wall.   And it did get a rather large turn out, the room was full of chattering people instead of the more usual echo of one’s own footsteps.

My one lonely beer was served by this nice young man.  He was tonight’s guest bartender, serving up this Mexican beer.   He writes about food and drink for the local free newspaper and seemed to be happy to be part of the event.  And I suppose that I was happy to be there too.

Oh deer

Well there I was having another art day and I had ended up at a rather swanky hotel.   The hotel was having a plein air day with a number of their artists who show at the gallery out and about painting the scenery at the hotel.   As I was leaving I stepped out of the front entrance and saw her.

What you can’t see in the picture is that she is quite near the front portico, with lots of valets and doormen standing around.   There were a few tourists milling about as well.   She calmly  was trimming the shrubbery and enjoying the tender freshly planted flowers that come from the hotel’s own greenhouse.

And after a hearty meal like that one needs a bit of a lie down.

And perhaps a little scritch to make one’s self completely comfortable.

And if one cared to memorialize the day, and one had several thousand dollars just rattling around in one’s pocket, one could purchase something like this bronze deer, available to buy right there in the hotel gallery.   Or perhaps some other wildlife art to remember encountering  the fauna of Colorado right outside the fancy hotel lobby.

Still more Pterodactyl

Sprouting up like mushrooms after a rain (not that we have had much in the way of rain), why it’s the tents of a local art festival.  It’s a chance for starving artists to meet with the tight-fisted public, and perhaps flog a little art on this beautiful sunny day.   (For some reason there was no dinosaur art represented, go figure.)

And the fair is located at a downtown park, usually empty.  But for today  the park’s main attraction is a giant rotating circle that sprays water onto children (no dogs allowed) and perhaps a stray pterodactyl or two.

Hey Pteri, I think that you really need to do something about that breath.

Perhaps a small treat will do the trick.  Yes, that’s better.

What’s that on stage right now?  It’s Pteri pretending to be the star of the show. However you slice it,  Pteri is certainly the best pterodactyl of the day.

 

Pterodactyl about Town pt.4

Hey wait a minute!   That looks like a traditional teahouse from Tajikistan located right behind Pteri.   (I know, who knew such a thing was possible?)

And here is the beautiful interior.   Oh Pteri, quit clowning around and sit down at the table.

My father always said (well not always, he did also say other things) “straighten up and fly right”.   And I suppose that this is good advice for any pterodactyl too.

And the reward is a lovely cup of chai tea, just like they make in Tajikistan, wherever that might be.

Pterodactyl about Town, pt.3

Pterodactyls grow up and love to explore new places.   So on this day Pteri decided to see the university town to the north.   And it is worlds away from our comfortable city, in more ways than one.

This town has a large pedestrian mall that replaced the old heart of the former business district, so once one finds a spot to park, it’s a great place for people watching.  And what sort of people does one find?

Well gosh, we don’t have any of these (a guy balancing on chairs while keeping up a continuous line of blather in the hope of some donations from the crowd) around here.  We don’t even usually have crowds.

And we especially don’t have any of these, which was apparently a dance? troupe of half naked men.   They certainly were dancing to the beat of their own drum.

But there are also art galleries everywhere.   And pterodactyls have a well known (at least to me) affinity for art.

No Pteri, I know that looks like food, but you can’t eat it (it wouldn’t be very tasty for one thing, and it probably costs a bomb).   So we had better stop for now and find some place to have a snack.   (To be continued.)

Art of the Street

In the last post I showed you (dear reader) the bird-like art of a local sculptor at the new arts center.  But wait, there is more in the bird art category on view at another business in town.

How about a giant chicken (readily recognizable as poultry) perched atop a saloon, right on a major thoroughfare.   Surrounded by artificial palm trees (sadly, palms do not grow here naturally), the chicken is master of all it surveys.

Or perhaps a flamingo is more to your taste?

Instead of rusting, enigmatic, possibly industrial art, one can admire a rusting 100+ year old cast iron stove here.

And how is this different from art that one would have to pay millions to possess?  Other than not being for display and sale in a fancy gallery by a big name artist.  (The city did make the owners take down car henge,  a previous artwork, which was made using cars instead of standing blue stones).

So instead of just a weird face, this place has the entire figure!   Yes, a giant fiberglass cowboy, complete with an enormous fiberglass beer.  Just to let one know what is on offer at this location.  It is the art of the pour, rather than the visual arts.   And this artwork is just as striking as the expensive stuff at the arts center.

Art on the street

The local state university is quite near my house.  And just like the universe itself, the university is expanding.   The most recent building is an arts center, and what is an arts center without art?   They have plonked down a number of large pieces of art, in a sort of random accumulation, so that one can tell that this is, in fact, an arts center.

The giant chicken roadrunner bird-like thing was made by a local sculptor some years ago.   It used to be at his house, until the neighbors complained about tourists showing up to look at all his art (there was a bunch of these).  So now it sits here in splendor (and it really is lovely).

This is another one of his pieces, and it moves in the breeze.   So on this day, that was the way the wind was blowing.

And here is yet another piece from the same artist, he made a lot of these things.  (And now you can see that the wind has changed direction too).

This one is not so attractive.   It looks like some sort of abandoned industrial by-product or fallen space junk, rusting away into oblivion.

This one is made of neon and at night, whatever they are supposed to be lights up, one after another.  I thought that they looked vaguely like roses, and I was immediately put in mind of Four Roses brand whiskey (the choice of skid row alcoholics everywhere).  And yes I do realize that there are five whatevers, but it’s hard to count them when one is just driving by after dark.

And then there is this bit, a collaborative effort of the artist and the grounds keepers.

I’m not sure how all of these pieces go together in any kind of artistic harmony, but I’m sure for the artists the best part is that they are displayed (and they got paid for it!).

 

Shadows

Our local art museum is a tiny facility.   It used to be even smaller until a past CEO went on an expansion binge before moving on.   So now there are big spaces to fill.  And one doesn’t want to crowd the artwork together, they have to have room to breathe (or something).

I was there for another free day, but it wasn’t the art that caught my eye, it was the shadows.  I just love gallery lighting, it makes the ordinary more interesting and unexpected.

There is nothing special about a branch (except that someone sold it to this museum), but the multiple overlapping repeats of the image give the piece some interest.

This piece is a mildly famous work by a feminist artist, one of those 60’s things.  The art seems rather trite to me now, but I love, love the shadows.

These shadows include the shadow of my cell phone (oops!)

But this one is the king of the shadows (note the crown).

I like the #5 definition in my dictionary (I know, how retro to use a physical dictionary): a delusive image or semblance: anything unreal or unsubstantial.  Or #6, a phantom, ghost or shade.  And that is why I like to capture them.

Household creatures

There is an ancient tradition that a cricket on the hearth brings good luck.   (Although I think that a chirping cricket is an invitation to mayhem, as one tries to find and destroy the pest.)  The best sort of cricket to have on one’s hearth is made of brass, one can get the luck without the nuisance of an actual cricket.   I fortunately have no crickets (yet: it’s still early summer), but I do have some little creatures around that amuse me, and amusement is much more reliable than ‘luck’.

I love little frogs (as you will soon see) and this one lives on a quilted wall hanging.

This one bookends the other side of the wall hanging.

Now how did this frog get there?  And why don’t I pick it up and put it somewhere else?   I just like seeing it there, a small splash of color against a large beige floor.

But it’s not all frogs around here, these finger puppets are ready to leap into action from the top of the door jamb.

But wait, there’s even more of them.  (The rest of the finger puppets have gone to Afghanistan.)  Finger puppets add a cheery touch to any room, a fact that decorating magazines have chosen to ignore.

And Pteri is currently residing in this room (doesn’t want to hang out with the rest of the dinosaurs), perched atop the carbon monoxide monitor.   Perhaps considering attacking the giant fly nearby, or perhaps just being admired.

Memorial Day

Every Memorial Day I go to the cemetery for the Veteran’s remembrance.  And they usually have some sort of military re-enactors there.

These troops were sent out west, even to here in Colorado after the Civil War, to fight Indians and such-like.  This group finally collected enough money to put up a commemorative plaque in Memorial Park nearby to recognize service of these troops.

WWII is popular for re-enactors, possibly because the uniforms are so stylish.  (One can frequently see regular, current Army uniforms around town).  My question was why they had the netting on the helmets, and they answered that it was so that troops could put leaves and twigs or whatever in for camouflage.

There were displays of the sorts of things that soldiers might carry around.

The MRE’s of their day, these packages contained a tin of something and a side of crackers, and this food was made to last forever.  One might need a smoke after that.

A nephew has just gone to Afghanistan and I am going to send him a package of useful items (granola bars and jerky, the K-rations of today).  Another nephew (who has been to Iraq twice) recommended “Anti-monkey butt powder” as a useful and superior product to foot powder.  As it turns out this is a real product, so I have bought some to put in the package. 😉

The map of Marburg was interesting to me because that is the hometown of my late mother-in-law.  She was a teenager during the war.  And after the war she married M’s father (a soldier) and came to America, so a big thank you from me to the US Army.