Earlier this spring, 85 tractor-trailers rolled out of a downtown Los Angeles warehouse bound for New York. They were hauling the building blocks of a colossal artificial forest, which the artist Paul McCarthy has now installed in Manhattan’s Park Avenue Armory for WS, his major solo exhibition opening on Wednesday. As he’s done in the past with Caribbean pirates and Santa Claus, the artist recast a (mostly) innocent childhood fantasy—in this case Snow White—through film, performance, and sculpture, creating a vividly grotesque nightmare barely recognizable to anyone weaned on Disney. (Don’t bring the kids.)
On a May afternoon, the artist’s son Damon McCarthy, 39, was overseeing the installation of the 8,800-square foot set in the Armory. The stage was maybe two-thirds finished, but the fake earth, foliage, and towering foam trees already seemed to fill the vast space. “My father feels this is his biggest accomplishment as an artist,” Damon told me. It is certainly the largest in sheer size. In recent years, Paul McCarthy has emerged as a contemporary titan working on a scale as spectacular as that of Jeff Koons. (The New York Times called their latest dueling New York gallery shows “The Battle of the Big.”) Damon, who manages the studio in L.A. and collaborates closely with his father, has been instrumental in helping realize this outsize vision. Read More.
“It'll never look the same,” my friend said as we left the North Point Water Tower section of UW-Milwaukee’s “Summerdances—Stephan Koplowitz: Water Sight, Milwaukee,” a tad stiff from sitting on the curb on last week’s chilly Thursday night.
Indeed, the gothic tower and the postmodern Cudahy Gardens fronting the Calatrava addition of Milwaukee Art Museum surely were indelibly transfigured for audiences and passersby as choreographer Koplowitz and his Milwaukee collaborators staged bold audiovisual spectacles at these current and future landmarks, offering them to the senses in unexpected ways.
The UWM Department of Dance, with support from several programs including the Peck School of the Arts “Year of the Arts” celebration, commissioned the distinguished choreographer to create these works with the students. Milwaukee composers Richard Hynson and Tim Russell; the Bel Canto Chorus with soloists Erin Laabs and Rebecca Whitney; rehearsal director Christina Briggs Winslow; and designers Luc Vanier (digital projections), Lisa Christensen Quinn (costumes) and Mike Atkins (lights) contributed mightily. Koplowitz has worked prolifically in the United States and Europe. He now lives in Los Angeles, where he is dean of the California Institute of the Arts dance program. Read More.
Director / writer Eliza Hittman embarks on a bold journey through the mind of an ever-growing sexually-minded teenage girl. It Felt Like Love is a film that never shies away from the consequences of understanding love. Check out more after the jump.
More detailed tidbits can be read as follows (via Sundance FIlm Festival 2013):
“Fourteen-year-old Lila is experiencing an ennui-filled Brooklyn summer. She awkwardly wears a Kabuki-esque mask of sunscreen at the beach and plays third wheel to Chiara, her more experienced friend, and Chiara’s boyfriend, Patrick. Determined to have a love interest of her own, a bravado-filled Lila pursues Sammy, a tough but handsome older boy. Though Sammy doesn’t respond to her overtures, he doesn’t reject her either, and Lila—unable to resist spinning delusional fables of a relationship with him—manipulates herself deeper into his world. When her desperation and posturing carry her too far into unfamiliar territory, her inexperience is exposed, and she is forced to confront reality. Read More.
Grover's staged death, toilet tossing — the stars at Monday night's 'Monsters University' premiere give their favorite university pranks.
During his college days John Lasseter had a thing against Grover.
The chief creative officer at Pixar and executive producer of Monsters University had his reasons: A a fellow animation student at the California Institute of Arts used to bring a Grover puppet to class and have it speak to the other students.
"It was driving us insane," Lasseter confided at the premiere of Monsters University on Monday night.
Lasseter and his fellow students finally took action, stealing the Sesame Street puppet and executing a series of pranks. Read More.
Charlie Haden Overcomes Adversity at Healdsburg Jazz Festival
The buzz in the Jackson Theater was a little more anxious than usual during the pre-show hum of this year’s Healdsburg (Calif.) Jazz Festival, because the one unconfirmed guest at the festival’s Charlie Haden tribute was Charlie Haden himself.
For the past two years Haden has been on a hiatus from jazz as he fights post-polio syndrome, and the Healdsburg festival was meant to be his comeback. Haden was scheduled to headline two days of the festival’s first weekend, June 1–2, but if the performances proved more than his health would allow, bassist Derek Oles, once Haden’s student at California Institute of the Arts, was standing by.
The show began with a set by pianist Geri Allen and saxophonist Chris Potter. Allen entered dressed like a Buddhist monk with a neat pile of dreadlocks on her head and proceeded to play a stunningly introspective program that she said she’d planned “just for Charlie.” Throughout their set, Allen and Potter flowed in and out of each other’s lines with meditative intuition. Allen, who first collaborated with Haden in 1988, opened with “Silence,” one of Haden’s compositions from the period. Read More.
In the early 1960s, Walt Disney decided to create a new kind of institution of higher learning, devoted entirely to the visual and performing arts with no boundaries between disciplines.
He merged the existing Chouinard Art Institute and the Los Angeles Conservatory of Music and incorporated the California Institute of the Arts in 1961, making it the nation's first degree-granting program tailored to the creative arts. Disney hired architects Thornton Ladd and John Kelsey to design an appropriate campus plan for the collaborative new institution. Ladd & Kelsey were best known for their designs for Busch Gardens in Van Nuys and the Pasadena Museum of Art (now the Norton Simon Museum). They aimed for total designs that integrated landscape, buildings, and interior spaces. Read More.
John Baldessari Birthday: The Clever Conceptual Artist Turns 82 Today
Today marks the 82nd birthday of one of the cleverest, tallest and most wonderfully bearded artists we know, John Baldessari.
The towering 6'7" artist was born and raised in California, eventually studying and teaching art at a variety of notable local schools including Berkeley, UCSD, UCLA and CalArts, where joint rolling was apparently offered as a course. Baldessari's students included some of our favorite provocateurs such as David Salle, Jack Goldstein and Mike Kelley.
His early works explored the ways text and image could intersect, painting statements pulled from art theory onto otherwise empty canvases. Through cropping, isolating and re-appropriating snippets of language we see the deep possibilities lurking in a humble joke or the utter emptiness of a lofty theoretical text. In other words, the artist can combine Claude Lévi-Strauss' structuralism with a cheap pun and make it work. Read More.
A Chat with Kenard Pak About Working for Disney and Dreamworks
Cartoons and feature-length animated films would have undeniably had an early influence on the majority of people working as illustrators today in at least one form or another. The mass of colours, fantasy and story telling form a perfect vehicle for encouraging creativity at an early age. Recent years have seen a huge shift in a preference for computer generated art work from painted cells but the fundamentals are the same.
That being said, the scope of work in art and design is so varied that the animated feature industry might still seem completely foreign to someone working in editorial illustration or advertising for example.
The large production companies that dominate the industry may seem unapproachable to some. How would you go about working for Disney? What does someone working in visual development do?
Illustrator Kenard Pak has worked for both Disney and Dreamworks so seemed like the right man to shed a little light on these questions. We ask him a few questions and take a look at some of the work he did for ‘Madagascar 3′ and some of his other great illustration work. Read More.
RADAR 2013 coming in September, featuring Britain's Complicite
The second edition of RADAR L.A.-- the Los Angeles festival dedicated to contemporary theater from around the world -- is scheduled to begin Sept. 24 and will feature a number of presitigious companies, including the critically acclaimed British group Complicite.
RADAR 2013 will be presented by REDCAT at Disney Hall and the California Institute of the Arts in partnership with Center Theatre Group. As was the case with the festival's inaugural 2011 version, this year's lineup will be split evenly between local and international productions, according to a spokeswoman. RADAR is scheduled to run Sept. 24 through Oct. 1 at venues around the city.
The full schedule will be announced in July. Simon McBurney's Complicite will appear in a collaboration with the Satagaya Public Theatre of Japan. "Shun-kin" will be presented Sept. 26 to 29 at the Freud Playhouse at UCLA, in association with the Center for the Art of Performance at UCLA. Read More.
With the release of his unique, understated, and critically acclaimed Tiny Resistors (Cryptogramophone, 2008), bassist/composer Todd Sickafoose suddenly and unintentionally upped the ante for indie jazz. Surging ahead of such indie mainstays (and label mates) as Nels Cline, Steuart Liebig, and boss Jeff Gauthier, Sickafoose has garnered strong press from such diverse sources as Bass Player Magazine, PopMatters, Jazz Times, USA Today, and The New York Times. The daring, spacious compositions and performances on Tiny Resistors, Sickafoose's third CD collection, have succeeded in obliterating all the subheadings of "modern," "progressive" and "new"—settling, instead, on eminently appealing.
A longtime coconspirator of Ani Di Franco's, Sickafoose finds himself in the enviable position of touring behind a musical statement that seems to be irresistible. Read More.