I first heard Riva Lehrer's name when I spoke with Ann Fox and Jessica Cooley about curating shows dealing with art and disability. Actually seeing her work though, was inspiring. A Chicago-based painter whose work speaks to identity and disability through her beautifully rendered portraits, and I don't think I can put it better than Art Critical does when they describe her style as "crisply observed realism mixed with fantastically contrived settings."
Sculptor Louise Bourgeois created an array of surreal images in her career, many of which address psychological phenomena in physically mutated or twisted figurative forms. But perhaps Bourgeois, nicknamed "Spiderwoman," will be remembered by much of the public who encountered her work for placing dozens of giant bronze spiders worldwide. She died last week, aged 98.
How many times have I heard people describe a new new laptop computer or i-Whatever as sexy? So much so that apple has built a brand on technology that people want to touch, hold, explore. Sleek, clean, shiny. High-touch and high-tech. And yet, when I think of sex toys design, I often think garish, clunky, and tacky. Why would the ultimate in touchable tech not follow suit?
A photograph from Shadi Ghadirian's "Qajar" series.
I planned to write only about Sara Rahbar today, but in researching her and her work I found a few more amazing Iranian artists highlighted in the Saatchi Gallery's 2009 exhibition "Unveiled: New Art From the Middle East". This post will only feature Rahbar and Shadi Ghadirian, but I urge you to check out the work of Shirin Fakhim, Tala Madani, Laleh Khorramian and the other very talented artists from that exhibit.
Say what you will about Lady Gaga (she's important for feminists, she's anti-feminist, she's just downright confusing, etc.) but you have to admit that she knows how to put it out there. Her whole existence in the public sphere reads as a giant performance piece (the costumes! the bizarre behavior! the rumors! the extravagant videos!) so it's no surprise that she considers herself a performance artist. Well, Klaus Biesenbach, MOMA and P.S. 1 curator, has news for her: She isn't one. (Yes, apparently it is up to him to decide.)
Update! Margaret Doyle at MOMA sent me an email titled, "correction on Lady Gaga story"! Read on for the rest.
Recently, The Guardian asked several successful fiction writers to come up with a top ten list of their personal writing dos and don'ts. Since we've all got a secret novelist lurking within us (don't pretend you haven't fantasized about going on a book tour) here are some of the more interesting tips from the likes of Margaret Atwood, Zadie Smith, Jeanette Winterson, and more.
Most of the art our culture celebrates is the same type of art that makes me yawn. See, I enjoy art that gets my blood racing. For me, good art needs to be both aesthetically appealing and make my brain hurt. Because of my intense predilection for this type of provocative eye candy, I was exceedingly pleased recently to discover the Visibility Project—a female, Asian American, Queer portraiture project by Bay Area Photographer Mia Nakano and Los Angeles collaborator Christine Pan.
The problematic policy of Don't Ask Don't Tell, implemented in 1993 by President Bill Clinton, has now been beautifully, if not dutifully rendered visible by LA-based photographer Jeff Sheng. That is, visible to the certain point his courageous subjects can be while in uniform.