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Thursday, January 28, 2010

Michele Guieu Takes Command of The Art Produce Gallery by Katherine Sweetman

I am thrilled that Katherine Sweetman wrote a review about "Lucy, Darwin and Me", which was just published on the SDVAN website. The show has been an amazing journey and this review is a beautiful conclusion.

Michele Guieu Takes Command of The Art Produce Gallery
by Katherine Sweetman

Lucy, Darwin and Me was an extremely well designed, multi-layered, and engaging show that took over the Art Produce Gallery from December12th to January 24th. On January 9 th, the artist, Michele Guieu, gave an informal talk and explained the show, her impetus for creating the work, and some of her relevant background -- like the fact that her father is a geologist, her mother is a biologist, and her family lived, for a while, in Africa.

The overall design of the show was flawless. As a former professional graphic designer, Michele Guieu utilized her knowledge of layout, craft, and presentation to shape the bizarre physical space of the Art Produce Gallery (a large storefront with a small backroom) into an exceptional exhibition. In a statement on the piece, Guieu described the show as having a “museum-like ambience,” and although the show demonstrated qualities of a more permanent, natural-history museum show, there was something much deeper, personal, and intense that occurred in this work. It was the opposite of most gallery exhibitions in which a series of objects are relocated to any space for a given duration where they will hopefully be sold. This show was specifically created for this space and the multiple audiences that came in contact with the work. Also the work was essentially destroyed when the show ended. The major hub of the piece, the mural, was painted over and only pieces were salvaged.

read more

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Back to White

5:00pm. Sunday evening at Art Produce, just before taking the show down and starting to paint the wall back to white, I took some pictures of the show at night (I did not get the chance to do it quietly before).

Then I packed the prints, the inks, the TV, removed the nails, filled the holes, put plastic sheets on the floor. I started applying the primer.

Lori brought me a nice tool to sand the wall quickly and a roll of tape + paper that she magically applied all along the walls in a few minutes! That was a great help. And although she was nicely dressed, she rolled some paint on the wall. After that, Claudia arrived and we worked until 10:30.
I loaded the car with the prints, the inks, the empty cans of paints, we closed the gallery and we left.

Monday. A coat of off-white everywhere, working on the details. Scraping the letters on the window. Spent the day with Claudia. We were done at 5:00 - we had no more paint (and the store was closed).

Tuesday. Went to the gallery, checked the window for the glue left by the letters, it was OK. Bought a gallon of Yolo paint at Olive Branch Green Building Supply in North Park for the gallery's walls, where Lynn buys it. The price is the same as a gallon of Mythic, the non toxic paint I usually use. But it is nice that Lynn buys her paint in this local store!

Back to the gallery, I painted another coat to be sure everything looked fine. Then I loaded the car with all the paint material, the ladder, the display table (heavy!), the camera, the tripod, the trash, the sand (from the display table), the plastic sheets.

I had the nice surprise to see Anna Stump, we had a cafe together and talk about possible future projects. Very interesting as usual, I love her energy and determination!

At 12:30 I was done and tired. I decided to have lunch at
Cafe Carpe Diem and I got a really nice "Farmers Daughter Panini", fresh and yummy. Just the time to see Lynn and I was off to get the kids at school, with a stop at home on the way, to unload the car and put the seats back.

Wow, it is all gone!

I am kind of sad, it was somehow difficult to let it go. Because the mural is gone for good, the letters on the window too.

On the other hand, the bigger "thing" I keep is the display table, which is an old table that I recycled for the show, 7 prints, and a series of 6"x6" inks. So in the end it does not take too much space, which is good.

It was the same at the SDAI for my the last show, "C'est la Vie". At the end of the show the mural was gone and I only had a box with small paintings to store.

Also, the paint I use is eco-friendly for the most part (so far only the primer I uses is not very good but I've got a nice sample of Yolo primer at Olive Branch to try).
I am thinking about all this. It is important.

When I see all the large paintings I've made the past 5 years, they are in my garage and they stay there. They take a lot of space.

Sometimes I envy the writers: they only need a laptop and they have all their writing on a disk. If they publish a book, it can even be read on a computer without producing too much carbon footprint!

Olive Branch Green Building Supply
"Energy-efficient and healthy building materials"

3030 North Park Way

San Diego, CA 92104

Art Run L.A. / LACMA - BCAM

Great art run to L.A. Saturday at LACMA. We partly visited the Broad Contemporary Art Museum (some floors were closed), and visited the Pavilion for Japanese Art.

Joseph Beuys: The Multiples

BCAM, 3rd Level
September 19, 2009–July 18, 2010

First time since I left Paris that I see an exhibition of Beuys' work. And first time I see an exhibition about his multiples. I never realized he made so many. Since I went to my art school in Paris, Beuys' work always questioned/interested me. The strength and the consistence of his path. The absence of concessions. The political engagement. His endless dedication as a teacher.
And the formal beauty of his work: the way he organizes a space with few symbols and letters, the choice of the fonts and subdued tones.

It was such a contrast with the images (loud and brightly colored) I was seeing in the very beginning of the eighties when I started my school. Beuys was working the opposite way.

Austerity in the design and profusion in the making. Wooden Postcards, plastic postcards, postcards in boxes, limited editions, unlimited editions, silk screen prints, woodcut prints, offset lithographs, photos, drawings, manifestos...

Almost everything in "Multiples" is signed and dated, sometimes stamped: it represents an amazing amount of signatures/dates/numbers.
Very organized, very well archived work. Beuys wanted to diffuse his work as much as possible, he was selling the multiples for a low price.

We saw the 3rd level of the BCAM, with works by Baldessari, Wharol, Koons and Kruger.
The show is about 28 contemporary artists - only 4 are women! Including Barbra Kruger who made a special 3 story-piece: "Untitled (shafted)" in the column of the elevator.

At the bottom of the museum, Richard Serra's "Band" and "Sequence". Quite an experience to walk inside and around the sculptures, which feel more protective than threatening despite the height and the material. The floor [under "Sequence" (120 tons)] was re-enforced 4 times since the installation... I am wondering why both sculptures are shown indoor. It seems to me it would make more sense to experience them outside.

I remember a Richard Serra's piece, "Clara-Clara", in Le Jardin des Tuileries in Paris in 1983, on the occasion of his retrospective at the Centre Pompidou. What a good memory. It was the most interesting encounter: the rusted gigantic work of steel in the oldest garden of Paris. It was like seeing the monolith of 2001. I was studying design and art at that time at ENSAD, and that was the greatest thing: to have a piece like Clara-Clara displayed in town and to be able to see it again and again. I would take the metro and go there, just to watch and walk around.

Great art run, great conversation, I drove and it did not seem long at all.

On the way back, we stopped at Project X: Art in Solana Beach to see "18 Shots", by Art Brewer, world renowned surf photographer. The series he presents at the gallery is a behind the scenes of the photo shoot for the 2009 Electra Bicycle catalog.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Women by Women @ the San Diego Art Department / photos of the show

Figurative and Conceptual Images of Women
Featuring artwork by The San Diego Women’s Figurative Group.
Artists: Irene Abraham, Jocelyn Duke, Jeanne Dunn, Michele Guieu, Misty Hawkins, Daphne Hill, Maura McHugh, Amy Paul, Ginger Rosser, Therese Rossi, Anna Stump, and Marcella Villasenor.

Maura McHugh
It's Just Sex

pen and hot glue on paper, 2009

Michele Guieu
Fatima (A blanket for Michel)

Woven Blanket (cotton), 50"x60"

Anna Stump
Brooklyn, messy bedroom series
acrylic on canvas, 2009

Los Angeles, messy bedroom series (bottom)
acrylic on canvas, 2009

Jeanne Dunn

oil on canvas, 2007

Daphne Hill
Mark, Chloe, Trichomonas

mixed media on wood, 2008

Abel, Suzanna, HIV

mixed media on wood, 2008

Darian, Gabriella, Gonorrhea

mixed media on wood, 2008

Jacob, Tabitha, Herpes Simplex

mixed media on wood, 2008

Marcella Villasenor
Quinceañera Detrás de la Reja
(Sweet Sixteen Behind the Fence)

Jocelyn Duke
Hot Pink Giners
pencil and gouache on paper, 2009

Black Boobs
pencil and gouache on paper, 2009

Irene Abraham
I'll show you mine
acrylic on paper, 2005

You show me yours
acrylic on paper, 2005

Therese Rossi
Emergency #2

Oil on canvas, 2009 - 2010

Ginger Rosser
Carefree Girl
paper collage, 2009

Lured (bottom)
paper collage, 2009

Amy Paul

Acrylic and mixed media on wood, 2009

Misty Hawkins

various water media, oil, pastel, 2010

Women by Women / SDAD
from January 16 to February 14, 2010

San Diego's Women Figurative Group

contact: Anna Stump

San Diego Art Department
Contact: Andrea Chamberlin
Director of Education

3830 Ray Street
San Diego, CA 92104
Phone: (619) 299-4ART

The San Diego Art Department (SDAD) is on Ray Street in North Park, one block east of 30th, just south of University.

Friday, January 22, 2010

"Movers and Shakers": Lynn Susholtz

my piece for the show: "Lynn Susholtz"
2009, acrylic and ink on canvas,

Last night was the opening of "Movers and Shakers" (SDVAN) at Art Expressions Gallery in Clairemont. Despite the weather a lot of people showed up and the place was packed. It was difficult to see anything and I guess I have to go back there to check it out quietly.

My piece for that group show is about Lynn Susholtz (Art Produce Gallery). Artist, art activist, teacher, gallery owner, organizer of events (dance, music, lectures, talks), she is an important actor in the San Diego art scene. I wanted a multi-faceted image.

Her gallery, Art Produce, won last November a "2009 Orchid Award for Public Art":

"When artist Lynn Susholtz renovated the old North Park Produce building into Art Produce, her plans included a "pedestrian art gallery." The long and narrow space has storefront windows along University Avenue,where the art is part of the street, the art viewer is also on display, and the activity of the street becomes part of the experience of the art. Places like this are fundamental to the experience of walking in the city. It creates a public space, a meeting space. It is places like this gallery and the view it shares with the street, that make walking in the city worthwhile."

Movers and Shakers
Art Expressions Gallery
Reception, Thursday Jan 21, from 6:30 to 8:30
The show runs from Thursday, January 21, to Saturday, February 6, 2010

Art Expressions Gallery
2645 Financial Court, Suite C (Clairemont neighborhood)
San Diego, CA 92117

Exhibition hours: Monday - Friday 9am-5pm
Saturday 10am-5pm
Info: Patricia Frischer (760) 943 0148
or Patricia Smith (858) 270 7577

Tara Donovan @MCASD

Untitled (Styrofoam cups)

At last! I went to see Tara Donovan at MCASD. And then I went back. The first time was at night, January 14. The museum organized a "member's celebration" with the curators, on the occasion of the show.

Unfortunately it is not possible to take pictures so I only took one from the outside. It is the first piece you see when you enter the Jacobs Building: Untitled (Styrofoam cups). That first piece, made of thousands of Styrofoam cups is unbelievable. And like someone said that night, I hope the MCASD will buy it and keep it as long as possible. Walking under that piece is an experience in itself.

The first piece by Tara Donovan that I saw was a few months ago at the California Center for the Arts in Escondido in the exhibition "Quint: Three Decades of Contemporary Art". It was the cube made of pins (3½ foot tall). But only when I went to the MCASD, I understood how the cube was made. The cube is made on site (from a box full of pins - the box being removed from the floor and the pins stand together on their own, without glue or anything). When the show is over, the pins are put back in a box and stored. Next time the cube is shown, the cube will be re-installed by a crew of another museum, following precise instructions.

One of the curator at the MCASD was saying that the museum bought one of the pieces made of millions of straws (stacked against the wall). Each piece is site specific. One piece consists in boxes full of straws, a map of the way they have to be stacked together. When the museum wants to install it, a special crew takes care of the installation and the installation is checked by Tara Donovan. I think it is a very interesting way to work and to think about what is an art object.

Although I read and heard about the show at the MCASD before to go, I was surprised by what I saw.

The scale of the work, the fact that each piece is a site-specific installation, the way the light (natural or artificial) plays with the pieces, the different weights (some pieces look light, others look heavy), the fact that the perception of the pieces change when one walks around, like with the piece made of straws or the one (on the ground) made of Mylar...

The work made with industrial/basic/cheap material (things that we use and usually throw away) is amazingly beautiful. That alone is fascinating. That opposition.

Tara Donovan's work is very poetic and makes me travel.

In my work I am asking myself a lot of questions and when I see Tara Donovan's work I see the clever answers she finds. I am impressed by the way she takes over the space (ceilings, floor, walls).

Her work is invitational, includes the viewer rather to exclude him/her. When I enter Tara Donovan's world I do not especially think first, I immediately have a good feeling about what is going on. I am attracted to it and it is good to watch it, to walk, to be around or surrounded by it.

I went to see the show with friends, and we met a lot of people we knew at the museum that night. What struck me is that there was a lightness in the air, people were happy to be there, it is not always obvious. People were saying that the work makes them happy! I was great to hear that. People were really enjoying it.

I decided to go back with the family a few days after, this time in the morning. The children loved the work, although it is difficult for them to understand that they cannot touch the pieces, because they are so inviting, that's what I would like to do too! It is very important for them to see art made with such materials, and with a lot of freedom. And also to understand that they will never see the same show again. It is a morphing/adaptative work.

Rethinking what we have around us. Seeing things differently. Including in our practices anything that we can think of.

Her work is an eye opener about "possibilities". I question my practice every single day. About pretty much every aspect of it. Then I do not necessarily find solutions, but the questions are there. When I see her work, it is very empowering and at the same time I can see where I am still "not liberated". But I am working on it!

Something very interesting in the show - that one can still listen to anytime: the audio tour. Call (858) 384 3321
and then access the different commentaries on the pieces (mostly by Tara Donovan).
20# Exhibit overview
21# Untitled (Styrofoam cups)
22# "Transplanted"
23# Untitled (plastic cups)
24# Haze (straws)
25# Moire
26# Untitled (toothpicks), Untitled (broken glass), Untitled (pins)
27# Bluffs
28# Untitled (Mylar)
29# Untitled (Mylar tape)
30# Nebulous
31# Untitled (paper plates)

Tara Donovan
MCASD (downtown location)
October 25, 2009 - February 28, 2010

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Death Valley

Around Furnace Creek campground

A few days in the quietness of Death Valley. So close to here.
No connection, no mouse click, no nothing, but breathtaking landscapes.
Very much needed sometimes.

Very few people. Silence.
A few coyotes. A beautiful tarantula. A sleepy rattlesnake.

Remains of harsh existences of the miners scattered through the valley. Modest camps. How did they spend their lives there? There are not many services today, but there was nothing at all at the time. Fascinating Aguereberry, who came from France and lived in Death Valley for 40 years until he died in 1954. He worked his claim mostly by himself.

"Remarkable persistence, not financial success, made him one of the most famous prospectors in the Panamint Ridge"
(on a sign at the entrance of his camp).

Red Pass - Titus Canyon
(one way road from Daylight Pass Road to Scotty's Castle Road)

Petroglyphs in Titus canyon

River bed - Leadfield (ghost Town)

In Titus canyon

In Titus canyon

The Devil's golf course (Badwater Basin),
282 feet (86m) below sea level

On our way to Zabriskie Point, from Golden Canyon

From Zabriskie point, early in the morning

Charcoal Kilns (Wildrose Canyon Road)

Cashier Mill, next to Eureka Mine (Aguereberry's),
Providence Ridge, on the road to Aguereberry Point

Harrisburg Flat, Next to Aguereberry Camp and Eureka Mine

Aguereberry Camp

Mesquite Flat sand dunes (next to Stovepipe Wells)