Monday, November 12, 2012

Museum Visit: Wade Guyton at the Whitney

Karsten Moran for The New York Times

New York–based artist Wade Guyton (b. 1972) makes bold paintings and drawings like these wall-sized  bands of color, using digital technologies: desktop computers, scanners, and giant inkjet printers. Guyton tears photographs from magazines, scans them and prints over them. He includes beautiful printing accidents, misprinted photos, broken graphic bands. The exhibition concludes with a spectacular artwork of broken black bands, over fifty feet long on two opposite walls, that Guyton created specifically for the Whitney space. 

The title of the Whitney survey, Wade Guyton OS, refers to a computer’s “operating system,” linking Guyton’s art to the operating systems of our time.

A Project Inspired by Wade Guyton

Select some photographs from a magazine. Either tear them out (with permission) or scan them. Print some large letters, or words on a new page. Print them over the photographs. Try several combinations. Fun, yes? Try enlarging sections. Try collages...real ones...cut and paste...Scan them. Do some more printing combinations. Do some more collages and print color bands over them.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Art News: Cy Twombly's Last Paintings

Today, I visited the Gagosian Gallery at 980 Madison Ave. near 77th Street,  to see the thrilling last paintings of Cy Twombly. I couldn't wait until they came to New York from London. 

In our earlier blog, "Cy Twombly's Scribbles," we wrote about Twombly's early drawings and paintings,  his classical Greek scribbles, his chalk scribbles on a blackboard, his color scribbles with soft pastels. Now in his "Last Paintings," his scribbles have grown to be the size of an entire wall. Painting in juicy oranges across acid green, giant loops leave a web of spidery drips. They are exciting paintings. They take you to a lush place Twombly discovered late in his life. So very beautiful. They will be at the Gagosian Gallery through Dec 22.  A fitting farewell to an amazing American painter.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Art News: Calder's Bronzes

A new exhibit at the L&M Gallery displays Alexander Calder's delightful bronzes. They were inspired by an architect friend, who asked Calder to create sculptures that could be constructed in concrete at a much larger size.

The Vine

Calder is known for his playful "circus" sculptures of acrobats and animals made of wire and bits of fabric. The "Bronzes" exhibition includes playful, little pinched clay animals, like the ones we made when we were children. 

Here is the link to "Calder: The Complete Bronzes," on view thru Dec 8 at L&M Arts,

Art News: Puppets On Film

This weekend, Puppets on Film, an annual festival from the Jim Henson Foundation, and BAMcinematek, celebrates many different types of puppets. "It's great to see this wide range," said Cheryl Henson, Jim Henson's daughter, and the foundation's president, who organizes the series with Lindsay Briggs. "A lt is being made by young artists on limited budgets. We love the quirky, playful, non corporate, noncommercial approach."

More information and schedules for films and workshops at:

Art News: Goodnight Moon App

Reading the "Arts, Briefly" a column about art news in the New York Times, on Friday November 9th, 2012, I discovered that one of my favorite children's books, "Goodnight Moon," is now on sale as an interactive app. It was published by Loud Crow Interactive and is available at iTunes for $4.99. The digital version includes a narration and a piano soundtrack. There are two educational add-ons, a "Goodnight Moon" alphabet book and a counting book.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Studio Visit: Greenwich House Pottery

Teen Wheel Workshop

Working on the wheel is amazing. You take a blob of shapeless clay, place it on a wheel, start the wheel turning and press on it with steady hands. It wiggles a bit, but soon,  as if by magic, a beautiful pot rises. It grows taller, or wider, as you press it. You stop to admire it.

We visited the popular Teen Wheel Workshop at Greenwich House Pottery in Greenwich Village. Master Potter, Dave Gibson, is the instructor. It's an exciting workshop where teens (13 to 18 years old) learn to shape beautiful pots on the wheel. 

Dave Gibson Demonstration 
A video of Dave's "centering" demonstration on YouTube :

The students practice "centering" on the wheel:

They add decorative details...

...with "slip," liquid clay.

One student adds graphic letters to his artwork.

The pots can be painted with shiny glaze in every imaginable color.

When the pots are ready they are loaded into a kiln and fired...

... at 2000 degrees.

Here are some "fired" pots waiting to be picked up.

Here is a wall of beautiful pots on exhibit in the gallery.

Meet Christopher Adams
Greenwich House Pottery is proud of its artist-In-residence program.
Leading artists like Christopher Adams are invited to share
their art with students and with the community.

Greenwich House Pottery is pleased to announce Christopher Adams as its 2012-2013 Resident ArtistOf his work, Adams writes: “My ceramic work relates intimately to my interests and experiences outside of art...and falls into the category of ‘organic abstraction.’ The pieces are influenced by a variety of creatures, but none of them represent any specific organism. Instead, the works usually play on biological concepts—speciation, convergence, mimicry—to generate aesthetic novelty. My most recent efforts relate to a series of wall-hanging ceramic biomorphic abstractions that play on the biological speciation concept of adaptive radiation – a phenomenon in which some pioneering organism enters into a relatively untapped environment and differentiates wildly and rapidly while at the same time not departing too dramatically from its original form. All the works in the series are members of an arbitrarily designed family. The population—currently hovering at around 5,000—has been evolving over the last 10 years…pieces range in size from half an inch to four feet in diameter and all are hand-built.”

This project was inspired by artist Christopher Adams' work...

 You can do this project at home. It is based on the fantasy forms Christopher Adams creates. You will need some clay or playdoh. Create (shape) some fantasy plant forms. Give them lots of wiggly "arms." Design some insect or animal "creatures." Have they come from another planet? Glue your "creatures" to a wood panel (or heavy cardboard) to create a "world," like Christopher Adams did. Give your "world" a name...and a story.

Meet Adam Welch, Greenwich House Pottery Director.

Adam Welch, Director
Greenwich House Pottery
16 Jones Street
New York, NY
Tel: 212 242 4106

You will find the Greenwich House catalogue at:

If you have young children, you will enjoy this post about the parent-child class at Greenwich House Pottery:

Friday, August 17, 2012

Studio Visit: Dancing with Pilobolus

Paula Lobo for The New York Times

These are photographs of the Pilobolus performance of "Skyscrapers" choreographed by Trish Sie.

Trish created "Skyscrapers" as a music video for the rock band "OK Go." (Her brother, Damian Kulash, is the band’s lead singer.) The music video shows Trish and dancer Moti Buchboot, as they   slowly tango  across a string of colorful street backdrops; their costumes change colors with each frame. 

Trish was a childhood fan of the dance group Pilobolus. She sent Renee Jaworski, at Pilobolus, the “Skyscrapers" video, and Pilobolus agreed to collaborate on a live performance version. 

Music videos are fun to create. Here are some ideas you can try:
Music Video Projects Inspired by Trish Sie
1. Colors- select music you feel is "red" (or blue, or yellow) music. Put on clothes in that color. Create movements for the music. What is the "red" feeling of the dance?
2. Changes- change to blue clothes. Change the music to "blue" music. Create movements for the "blue" music. Is there a different feeling?

3. Ideas- what other "color" ideas can you come up with for dances? Green frog? Yellow sun? Red rose?

4. Videos- create music videos of your dances. Talk about your ideas for the videos...the music...the movements...

5. Friends- invite friends to collaborate with you. Ask them to create dance movements. Talk about the dances together. Rehearse the movements. Perform them.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Studio Visit: A Box of Crayons

Here is a fun video about creativity with a box of crayons. It features musicians Jason Rabinowitz and Jacob Stein and Garrett Davis as the director and animator

Public Art Visit: Discovering Columbus

There is a statue of Christopher Columbus in Columbus Circle, in New York City. Usually, we walk past the statue without  noticing it. It's just part of the street. But Japanese artist Tatzu Nishi wants us to notice it. He want to change the way we look at the statue of Columbus. So he is constructing a six-story tower around it. What? And, it will have a furnished living room at the top level. Really? When you climb the stairs to the living room above, you will "Discover Columbus,"  (the actual statue), poking through the floor in the middle of the living room. Fun, yes? 

Nishi's art is called "conceptual art. Here is his sketch of the living room he designed to surround the top of the Columbus statue.

"Discovering Columbus" celebrates the 400th anniversary of Columbus' journey to America. You can visit the tower starting on September 20th. 

A Creative Project Inspired by Nishi

Select an object from the kitchen, a whisk perhaps. Select a shoe box. Decorate the box with drawings of shoes. Put the whisk in the box. Close the box. Ask friends what they think is in the box. If they say shoes, you have successfully changed the way they think about what to expect. That's what Nishi does. He changes the surroundings of objects to make you see them in a new way.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Studio Visit: Greenwich House Pottery

Gushy, mushy sloppy mud. That's what clay is. But it's special mud, mud that can be baked as hard as stone, mud that can become dishes, or flower pots. Come with us to Greenwich House Pottery and take a parent-child pottery class.

Greenwich House Pottery is located in a beautiful building in Greenwich Village. It is a professional pottery center for sculptors and potters. Happily, it also offers parent-child classes.

We arrived at 10 o'clock for a two-hour class. We climbed three flights to a sunny studio where we met Mary, our teacher. She explained that our project today would be to construct clay flower pots. We would use terracotta clay. 

Mary described some techniques for working in clay. She gave us some tools we could use to press decorative marks into the clay.

Mary showed us "the slab roller table" with its large wheel. She explained that you place your lumpy clay on the table and then run it through the "slab roller" (no fingers please) to get a perfectly flat slab of clay.

We each ran our clay through the "slab roller." Then, we trimmed the uneven edges. We cut a large piece off the slab for the bottom of the pot. We rolled our slab around a "can"shape to form the wall of our flower pot and joined the two ends. We placed the "flower pot" on our "bottom" piece, and followed the shape of the pot to cut a circle for the "bottom." We cut little lines, crosshatches, along the edges of the "bottom," and wet them a little bit, so we could join them securely.

We smoothed the sides of our pot with a "smoother," a little piece of flat plastic.

We added flower shapes to one pot. We rolled little balls and pressed them flat to make flowers.We rolled coil shapes for flower stems. The second pot became an elephant. We flattened two balls to form the ears, rolled thick coil shapes for the legs and made pointed tusks.

We cut small holes in the top of the "flower" pot as decorations. We cut a hole to drain the extra water from the bottom of the pots.

We painted the pots with "slip glaze," thin clay color. We painted one pink and one blue. Clear, shiny glaze would be painted over the slip.

The pots would dry for a week and then be 'fired," baked in a kiln, a very hot oven (2000 degrees), that would turn the pots from soft mud into something as hard as "stone." We'll show you our finished pots in a future  blog.

We loved our clay workshop and are planning to sign-up for classes at Greenwich House Pottery this September. Hope you will join us.

Meanwhile, here is a great clay project you can try.

Project: A Self-portrait (at Greenwich House)

• Take some paper plates. Look in a mirror. Use a thick marker and draw your portrait. 

• Place the plate on a slab of clay. Cut out a circle.

• Make some coils, (you know, you roll them under your hand). When they are even and pretty thin (but not too thin) use them to "draw" your portrait on the circle. Put a little "slip," (watery clay) under the coils to join them to the slab circle.

• Let your "portrait" dry. 

• Paint your portrait with glazes. Greenwich House has the glazes.

• Greenwich House will "fire" the pots for you in their "kiln." A "kiln" melts glass...which is what glazes are made of.

• When your portrait has been "fired," Greenwich House will mail it to you.

Greenwich House Pottery 
Jones Street nr West 4th Street

Happy Birthday America 2012

This is a reprint of the artbusnyc blog we wrote in 2011 to celebrate the 4th of July and our Declaration of Independence from English rule forever. Today is the 4th of July 2012.

Today is America's birthday. I'm not sure how you celebrate a country's birthday. Do you have a birthday party? Do you bake a birthday cake? Do you make t-shirts? Do you light fireworks? I decided I would celebrate America's birthday with a blog called "Happy Birthday America."

More than 200 years ago, there were 13 colonies in America.The colonists were mostly farmers. They were ruled by Great Britain and King George III. King George made life hard for the colonies by demanding high taxes for things the colonists needed, like tea.

The colonists decided they wanted freedom from Great Britain. They wanted to make their own rules and create their own government. They formed the Continental Congress.

They asked Thomas Jefferson, a young lawyer, to write a declaration of America's independence from King George and Great Britain.

Two important statesmen, Benjamin Franklin

and John Adams helped revise the declaration.

It became known as the Declaration of Independence. It promised the people "Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness." After many revisions, the Declaration was sent to Congress where the fifty-six members signed it.

John Hancock, the leader of the Congress, signed it so flamboyantly that his signature has become an icon, and we say "Put your John Hancock on this document.

George Washington asked Betsy Ross to celebrate the new nation and sew the first flag.

I'm sure someone baked a cake.

On July 4th, 1776, the Declaration of Independence was adopted by the Continental Congress, and America became a new country. Yea!!

Now we celebrate every 4th of July. Artists celebrate with art. like Jasper Johns who painted the "Three Flags." It hangs at the Museum of Modern Art in New York.

The Declaration of Independence described our dream of how we wanted our country to be. We invented a system of government that would give all people what they needed. Benjamin Franklin made his ideas clear when he said,"every man is a property owner, has a vote in Public Affairs, lives in a tidy, warm House, has plenty go good Food and Fuel. with clothes from Head to Foot.

 Every the 4th of July, we celebrate America's birthday and our Declaration of Independence, with fireworks. The people of our nation are constantly working and voting, to make the great ideas of our dream, become more of a reality.