We visited the Gilgal Sculpture Garden in Salt Lake City the last time we were there. It’s not incredibly well known; it was created by Thomas Battersby Child, Jr. in the mid-twentieth century, and includes sculptures and engraved stones.
The sculptor here used the KJV, Job 19:23-27
Oh that my words were now written! oh that they were printed in a book!
That they were graven with an iron pen and lead in the rock for ever!
For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth:
And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see G-d:
Whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another; though my reins be consumed within me.
Comprised of seven towers of colorful, stacked boulders standing more than thirty feet high, Seven Magic Mountains is situated within the Ivanpah Valley adjacent to Sheep Mountain and the McCullough, Bird Spring, and Goodsprings ranges of mountains. A creative expression of human presence in the desert, Seven Magic Mountains punctuates the Mojave with a poetic burst of form and color.
I mean, really, the bench on Joe and Hilda’s porch, across from the chairs we almost always sit on, is its own art. Awaiting their place in another of Joe’s assemblages: doll heads, flags, a barbell, construction hats (Joe loves those), drink containers, a ‘keep out’ sign…
“Since initiating this program in 2014, we are pleased to have provided twenty institutions around the country with works by some of the most important artists of our time,” said Maxwell L. Anderson, president of the foundation. “Having these artists and their stories represented in major collections is crucial to a full and nuanced understanding of the art historical canon. We are pleased that Asheville, Baltimore, the Henry, and Toledo will add these works to their collections from coast to coast, and further understanding and appreciation of these narratives throughout their communities.”
What will never stop being fun is going to the smaller museums and seeing shows that should be in much larger venues because they’re just that good. It’s like a little surprise. You know for some museums, they’re busy putting together regional art photography, or remixing the permanent collection to look fresh, or they’re making a benefactor’s very particular interest (or gifted collection) be a thing.
But what’s going on at the University of Mississippi Museum right now with Jaime Aelavanthara‘s ‘Where the Roots Rise’ exhibit is special, and a big institution needs to pick this up and give it a larger audience. In the meantime, we can feel really smart about driving out to Oxford and seeing it now (through December 1). And we can fit in some football and some Square Books and some Four Corners chicken-on-a-stick while we’re at it, too. Win, win, win, win, y’all.
Where the Roots rise, a series of tea-stained cyanotypes, serves as a reminder that the gap between nature and ourselves is smaller than we acknowledge. Decay runs rampant—seasons change—nature lies in await to stake its claim.
above: ‘She Rests in Camellias’
Jaime Aelavanthara’s work articulates humankind’s capacity to decay as a marker of our identity. Set in the swamps and woods of Mississippi, Louisiana, and Florida, natural places where one encounters life and death, growth and decay, the series chronicles the intimate relationship of a feral woman and her surrounding nonhuman environment. The woman collects the bones, branches, and flora and treads with the animals, both dead and living. Recognizing the deaths of other creatures, this woman observes in death, she, too, will be repurposed and consumed by the earth.
The cyanotype process shifts focus from potentially colorful landscapes and figures to patterns, textures, and the relationships of forms within the images. Tea-staining the prints dulls the blue and adds warmth. Printing on Japanese Kitakata paper, which is prone to ripping, tearing, and wrinkling, reflects the deterioration of nature and gives the prints a feeling of fragility. Untamed ultimately reflects upon the forms, the impermanence, and the interconnectedness of natural life.
‘Bones of My Bones’
The Kitakata paper used takes this especially rustic look (plus, it’s tea-stained) and as I was standing there, I was inspired: it might be interesting to do larger-scale prints on paper sacks from, say Piggly Wiggly, and not only use the blank portion of the paper, but overprint on the logo side. I may give that a try.
Unfortunately the Nick Cave: Feat. exhibit at the Frist is now over (I completely flaked on DFK earlier this year), but I got some great pics of it while it was up.
Loved seeing the soundsuits on what amounted to a walkway in a room studded with buttons. And just the whole thing was really well put together.
From the synopsis:
…A deeper look reveals that they speak to issues surrounding identity and social justice, specifically race, gun violence, and civic responsibility. His trademark human-shaped sculptures—called soundsuits because of the noise made when they move—began as a response to the beating of Rodney King by policemen in Los Angeles more than twenty-five years ago. As an African American man, Cave felt particularly vulnerable after the incident so he formed a type of armor that protected him from profiling by concealing race, gender, and class.
Along with broadcasting an increasingly urgent call for equity, Cave wants his art to spark viewers’ imaginations and aspirations. This exhibition’s title, Feat., refers to the exceedingly hard work that goes into attaining success (it takes, for example, roughly seven hours to hand-sew just one square foot of a button soundsuit). It also plays on how talent is often listed in promotional materials—an appropriate nod to Music City and its creative community. Through this immersive installation, Cave hopes to provide a transformative place where your narrative can be featured and your dreams can soar.
This was the 2011 ‘Architectural Forest’ made up of bamboo, wire, plastic beads, and acrylic paint. It seemed to change design as one walked around it.
Here, a multi-paneled wall relief
And my favorite piece, the ceramic dog on a chaise
If you’re familiar with Cracking from the penguins at the 21C hotels, or you’ve just seen news about their other exhibits, Cheekwood made for a terrific setting because the sculptures were on view on the grounds of the garden setting, as well as in the mansion.
From Cheekwood’s site: Cracking Art is a Milan, Italy-based artist collective born out of the intention to radically change the history of art by investigating the relationship between natural and artificial reality. By using 100% recyclable plastic materials, Cracking Art creates site-specific installations using large-scale, natural animal forms made of synthetic materials, playfully arranging meerkats, bears, crocodiles, birds, and other animals in surprising invasions of familiar landscapes.
We interacted with the giant bird and her eggs, and even rode the croc!
September 22 – October 21 is Cheekwood Harvest where, among other sights, is their famous 400+ gourd pumpkin house.
We visited the Museum of Design Atlanta first so that the boys could take an engineering class, and were thrilled to get to see the ‘Text Me: How We Live in Language’ exhibit which closes soon — February 4. Some of the exhibit is not for younger people, so while I did take the boys back to see much of it, there were parts we breezed over. It was easy to do as anything questionable is hung at a higher level.
Here, the boys are in the classroom area where they watched 3D printers work:
From the MODA website on the Text Me exhibit:
The individual component of language—text—is the prime vehicle used to express the experiences of our existence—from minor moments of daily life to the grand nature of the human condition. Our ancestors as far back as the cave man have been using symbols to document and record experiences.
Today, the visualization of our personal stories is an integral and essential part of nearly every moment of life, and we use text in all of its forms to define reality, emotions and even time itself. We are now living in a world wherein the condition of our visual communication reflects the condition of our culture. Conceived and curated by designer, podcaster, and brand strategist Debbie Millman, this exhibition is an attempt to organize, express, translate and reflect both how we live in language and how language now defines our lives.
The Crossroads of Should and Must by Elle Luna
Guns are Good for the Economy, Guns are Bad for the Economy by Brian Singer