Art Around the Web -- Mark Ryden -- by Florida Fine Art Blog

There are two artists' work that I dream about one day having in my personal collection.  Both are way out of my price range and will be forever, but I can dream.  The first would be a small bronze by Henry Moore, one of his sculptures that can fit in the palm of your hand, preferable one of a mother with child.  The second is anything by Mark Ryden.  As far as I'm concerned Mr. Ryden is one of the greatest living painters.  

Mark Ryden's work disturbs me, impresses me and gets me thinking more than any other living artist.  There are some artist that just do it for you; you look at their work and feel complete, it's a feeling you can not even explain in words.  His work is irreverent and subversive but done with a skill level that raises Mr. Ryden's punk rock sensibilities into fine art worthy of any museum wall.
  Mark Ryden is the father of the 'Lowbrow" art movement, although he does not like the term.  His paintings are a refection of the tension that exists right under the surface in our American lives.  Mr. Ryden's paintings are filled with allegory that is so familiar to us.  The great corporate commercialization showing us a white-washed unattainable picture of American life that hides the messy cost of our lifestyle; from the food polished, packaged and presented to us in supermarkets that show no signs of its origin to the everyday products like sneakers that are marketed to fill our heads with pictures of famous sports stars instead of the children in sweat shops making them for us.  We are removed from the cost of our existence.  We are told to "move along, nothing to see here."  Mr Ryden makes us look and reminds us of the truth.

Mark Ryden is a master painter.  He uses old school brush and layering techniques that give his paintings a permanent feel.  They look like paintings that Michelangelo could have done, if Michelangelo grew up watching TV in the 60's and 70's and ate steaks colored red with dye and wrapped in clear cellophane.  I can not overstate the awesomeness of Mark Ryden's artistic skills.  You have to see his work live to get a proper understanding of how good he is.  He is a true master painter for our time and has spawned an entire art movement that challenges the whole establishment. GL

I loved the description by Andrew Engelson of the Seattle Weekly who wrote back in 2004;  OK, so the California painter—who is a masterful craftsman—is a touch morbid. But there's a fine line between morbid and observant. Ryden, like William Burroughs, strips the lunch on our forks naked, so we're constantly reminded of the violence behind the surface of our placid little lives. A meticulous painter of the old school (making him a perfect fit for the Frye), Ryden is a postmodern icon maker. His canvases are stocked with a strange and inscrutable array of personal symbols that open a door to the secret life. Again and again, you run into Lincoln, bees, freaky stuffed animals, Jesus statues, numerology, quotes from the world's religious traditions, bodily fluids, and tons of wide-eyed Keane-esque children. As anyone who's spent more than 10 minutes with kids knows, they aren't innocent angels, but instead voracious observers of all that adults try to hide. Just try walking past a road-killed frog on the sidewalk in the company of a 3-year-old. Ryden has that same childlike fascination with the icky. We're just meat, Ryden's canvases insist, but meat that can also read philosophy. In paintings such as Puella Anima Aureo (above) there's a palpable sense of how weird it is to reside in a body. PLEASE VISIT THE MARK RYDEN WEBSITE


Chihuly Museum now in St. Petersburg, Florida -- posted by Florida Fine Art Blog

St Petersburg, Florida is quickly becoming a serious arts destination.  The new Salvador Dali Museum is posed to open in January, 2011 and now the Chihuly Collection, a magnificent 10,000 square foot museum designed by award-winning architect Albert Alfonso, has just opened. The Collection is located on the city’s waterfront in downtown St. Petersburg on Beach Drive, within walking distance of the Museum of Fine Arts, a multitude of galleries, restaurants and shops and the new Dali Museum.

This presentation is unique as it is the first installation of Chihuly art in a building designed specifically for that purpose. It is designed so that the art and architecture work together to create a visitor experience unlike any other exhibition of Chihuly’s art. The Collection is marked at the entrance by an iconic 20 foot sculpture created especially for the site.

Chihuly has been exhibiting in Florida for years.  I visited both of his large-scale outdoor exhibitions at Fairchild Gardens in Miami.  Chihuly's organic shapes and colors were a perfect fit with the natural gardens.  Christine and I went back time and time again, at different hours of the day, to watch how the light changed the work and to watch the relationship change between the work and the surrounding gardens.

Very few artists make such an impact on their medium that they change it forever.  From how a piece is created to how we view the work, they change the process and leave their stamp forever on the art world.  Both Dali and Chihuly are such artists and now St. Petersburg, Florida has them both!  GL

Chihuly Collection in St. Petersburg, Florida

U.S. Army To Unveil a Collection of Soldiers' War Paintings -- posted by Florida Fine Art Blog

"Art of the American Soldier" is a new exhibition of about 300 paintings by U.S. servicemen and women that will be unveiled to the public for the first time at Philadelphia's National Constitution Center in September. The paintings have been selected from about 15,000 collected by the U.S. Army since the 1840s. Most have never been on public display.  The paintings all focus on the duties, sacrifices, and everyday lives of troops, and covers every conflict from WWI, to Iraq and Afghanistan.

The show includes four oil paintings by Master Sgt. Martin Cervantez, a combat artist who spent 90 days in Afghanistan in 2008 recording the experiences of soldiers on active duty. Cervantez worked from some 18,000 photos but argued that photographic evidence is no substitute for the personal experience of the artist who is also a soldier. "The public needs to see this because it's from the soldier's perspective," he said.

The exhibition will give visitors a clearer understanding of war at a time when more troops are in Afghanistan fighting the longest war in U.S. history and public support is wavering, said David Eisner, chief executive of the National Constitution Center. Eisner argued that the center is an appropriate setting for the show because U.S. soldiers take an oath to defend the Constitution, whose stated purpose is to secure liberty for American citizens.

"It's important that we understand that what the soldiers are fighting for is the framework of our democracy," he said. The exhibition is also designed to enable active and retired servicemen and women to give their relatives a realistic view of their experience of war.

"If a soldier takes his family to the museum, I want them to be able to say, 'That's what it was like,'" Cervantez said.

The show runs from September 24 to January 10, 2011 and will then tour other U.S. cities. GL

Philadelphia's National Constitution Center
Article in Army Times

Ansel Adams Heirs Challenge Garage-Sale Negatives -- posted by Florida Fine Art Blog

A man from Fresno, California bought a box full of old negatives at a yard sale for $45 and now believes they are original Ansel Adams' negatives worth $200 million.  Are they real?  And what is a negative worth?  Are the negatives of a famous photographer as valuable as the prints?  Can you print and sell someone else's negatives?  If you own the negative do you own the image?  These questions are discussed in this NPR interview with Andy Grundberg, chair of photography department at the Corcoran College of Art and Design, in Washington, D.C. He used to be the director of the Ansel Adams Center for Photography in San Francisco.  GL

Transcript of NPR Interview

Paintings Taken by Serviceman in WWII Return to Germany -- posted by Florida Fine Art Blog

So your Great-Uncle leaves you, in his will, several paintings that look like they are of European origin, possibly German.  You know your Great-Uncle was stationed in Germany during WWII.  There are no receipts or any paperwork accompanying the paintings.  What do you do?  Well if you are Beth Ann McFadden, the grand-niece of former Army sergeant Harry Gursky, you conduct extensive research on the paintings' provenance.  She and a friend discovered that the paintings were among 40 in the Pirmasen municipal museum's collection that were missing from a storage area under the local school building after World War II.  Gursky, who died in 1988, was stationed in Pirmasens after the initial invasion.  McFadden then contacted German authorities who informed her that ICE had an open investigation. Now the paintings are on their way home to Pirmasens Museum in Germany.  "Without the integrity and good will of Beth Ann McFadden, the repatriation of these paintings to the Pirmasens Museum could not have taken place," said U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York Preet Bharara. "Each work of art returned symbolizes an act of justice, bringing us one step closer to the goal of repatriating all of the surviving pieces taken from museums during World War II."  The paintings are each valued in the tens of thousands.  GL

Paintings Taken by Serviceman in WWII Return to Germany

Erotic photo-art. Dmitry Kaminsky.

Art-works of Russian photographer Dmitry Kaminsky. Beautiful nude men in stylish black-and-white photographs.


Purvis Young at Miami Art Museum -- posted by Florida Fine Art Blog

July 30 to November 7, 2010
MAM is having an exhibition of Purvis Young

One of my favorite museums is showing one of my favorite artists.  This is the first show of Purvis that MAM has ever put on.  In thinking about this exhibition I was struck by the fact that the present location of MAM (MAM is moving by 2013) is downtown Miami very close to Overtown Purvis' home.  The subject of Purvis' work through out his lifetime was the downtown area of Miami known as Overtown.  You can't get a more urban museum or artist anywhere in America.  It is nice to see the two have come together.  I can't wait to see how the museum handles the work.  GL

Thursday July 29th Opening Preview night.
With a viewing of the award winning documentary "Purvis of Overtown."

MAM Website
Purvis Young Exhibit


Today we entered uncharted territory and pushed the boundaries as we asked the girls and Mentonians to discuss love. So often love has been discussed in The Mentone Collective, but never has it been the starting directive. It became so evident through these conversations and reflections that love can and does mean something different to everyone. Here are some of the reflections.

"What happens when love becomes more than a word, more than the closing of a letter? Our language overuses such a wonderful word. How can we say we love God, but we also "love" ice cream and honey? Love means something different to everyone... Love can bring wondrous memories or painful regrets. Love is said so often but honestly do we even speak about it, do we ever unveil the true feelings in our souls? Love is so much more than just "love ya, see ya tomorrow." It is an emotion that excites our being. God created us to love and so many times we miss that, we are superficial. We never truly experience His love because we are scared; either scared of the unknown or scared because of our experience. Our world tells us to put up walls and to cower down, but God created us out of His love to love one another. We need to truly understand the amazing, all-powerful love Christ gives us and return that to others not by ourselves but by and through Christ alone. We try to do things on our own and we can't. The inventor of love calls us to follow His lead no matter how hard the person is to love, no matter how different they are from us and no matter if they return our love or not. The love that comes only from above is the reason for our existence. Why should we not bathe others in it and share the love we know to others? Struggles of this world may weigh us down but as Jesus says, "Take love, I have overcome the world." So in a sense, He is saying: "Take up love for I have overcome hate!"

-Catherine, 16

First Meeting with Campers: Second Term

Twenty-three new smiling faces came to the first meeting of second term’s Project Phoebe. Similar to first term, we talked about the vision of the Mentone Collective, as a film but also as conversations and intergenerational relationships. After sharing and discussing the story of Ruth and Naomi, we moved into the more technical details of how film and flip cameras can act as agents of this equal exchange. Here is a reflection of this first day.

"I love listening to people’s stories, but I don’t really tend to tell many of mine, so the “equal exchange” idea may be a little bit difficult for me, which I am worried about. However, I do think that listening is the greatest gift one can give and so I am excited to put that into action. My family has been trying this summer to think about “listening to understand” rather than just “listening to respond,” an idea that I both love and have trouble implementing in my own life. The theory is that you try to listen to really grasp and take to heart what the other person says, rather than just listening to be able to formulate a response. I think Project Phoebe will be a great time for me to work on this as well…I think I will have to step outside of my comfort zone, as Ruth did, and overcome my fear and shyness, but I cannot think of many better ways to do that than through this project… I am going to pray about it and just try to be open and flexible and await what God has in store for all of us."

-Bennett, 16

"Video of the Week" -- Iraq’s Imperiled Modern Art -- by Florida Fine Art Blog

Fascinating video and article from the New York Times about Iraq's troubled art museums.  It would be great if the world's top museums came together and lent support to this growing problem.  GL

Iraq’s Imperiled Modern Art

Secrets Of Mona Lisa Painting Revealed -- posted by Florida Fine Art Blog

New information about the world's most famous painting. A new noninvasive technique called X-ray fluorescence spectroscopy was used to study the paint layers and their chemical composition. Researchers found a technique called “sfumato”, which uses successive ultra-thin layers of paint and glaze to achieve a dream-like quality and give the painting depth and shadow.  GL

Secrets Of Mona Lisa Painting Revealed

What's good for the arts also good for developers -- posted by Florida Fine Art Blog

It's a familiar story, artists move into low rent warehouse districts, clean up and gentrify the area with galleries and small retail shops. Investors follow and soon it becomes the hottest place in town, rents skyrocket and the artists are forced to move and find the next cheap place. In their wake they leave whole city blocks, that once were underutilized, fresh and hip for developers to exploit.  GL

What's good for the arts also good for developers

South Florida Lawyer Donates Sculpture -- posted by Florida Fine Art Blog

Pictured above is Frederick Goldstein, an accomplished attorney and sculptor living in South Florida, standing in front of a large sculpture he donated to the Fort Lauderdale office of Florida's Department of Children and Families.  The six-foot-tall Parents and Child sculpture is made of steel and coated with copper, and depicts a child nestled between two adults as they hold hands.  Fred has a few large public sculptures located around South Florida.  A wonderful large piece of his stands down by the water in front of the Performing Arts Center in Fort Lauderdale and another large piece honoring our soldiers stands in front of Dania City Hall.  Fred has a brother Steven, who is a columnist for the Sun Sentinel.  Dr. Steven Goldstein also hosts a current events show on TV in South Florida.  Both brothers are strong supporters of the arts, always volunteering time and talent when asked.  Fred was included in the first artist auction I helped organize to benefit the Bonnet House in Fort Lauderdale years ago, and his brother Steven helped promote the benefit.  It is great that local artists like Fred have the opportunity to show their work in public places. GL
South Florida Lawyer Donates Sculpture

Art-works by Dærick Gröss Sr.

Nude male characters and homoerotic images in the works of American artist, illustrator and designer Dærick Gröss Sr.

A Tell Tale Heart

Pumpkin Head

Night Guardian

Hyacinthus' Death

October Moon


Gay Boys


Erotic Digital Art. InmoMakuoro.

Art-works by Japanese artist Makuro. Erotic comic book characters and other images of nude men.

Nereus. Middle finger attack

Devil Jin






Pet out of control


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