WHAT SHOULD I BE DOING INSTEAD OF THIS?
 
 
by Steve Rosen 10.08.2012
Posted In: Visual Art at 10:43 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
hawk photo

FotoFocus Takes Cincinnati By Storm

Having wrapped up a very busy first (extended) weekend of FotoFocus activities, I’m humbled by the fact that I only got to a portion of the exhibits and events occurring under the month-long, regional photography festival’s umbrella. Before it’s over, more than 70 shows and related special events — like this Wednesday’s concert at the Emery Theatre by Bill Frisell/858 Quarter, featuring musical portraits inspired by photographer Mike Disfarmer’s work — will have taken place. I’m wondering if FotoFocus, like the National Park Service, should have a passport that can be stamped at each site of a sponsored activity. (Quite a few exhibits will continue past October – check here for schedules.) “Umbrella,” by the way, is an apt word to use in one respect. Sideshow, the thoroughly charming outdoor kick-off party that took place Friday night, was bedeviled by rain and cold temperatures. As a result, attendance was small. That was disappointing because the alleys of downtown’s Backstage Theatre District had been turned into a colorful, imaginative, Fellini-esque carnival for the evening, with handmade booths, games of chance and photography opportunities. A stage with a theatrical backdrop served to host A Hawk and a Hacksaw, a New Mexico duo — Jeremy Barnes on accordion and Heather Trost on violin — whose music had an East European/Middle Eastern flavor and whose musicianship was impeccable. They would have fit well at MidPoint. In fact, the Backstage Theatre District would make a great outdoor venue next year for MidPoint, which, as Mike Breen pointed out, needs a stronger downtown presence. On Wednesday, I attended the preview opening of Doug and Mike Starn’s Gravity of Light in Holy Cross Church at the Mount Adams Monastery. I had gone a couple weeks earlier for a test, which I described in last week’s Big Picture column, where the noise and flying sparks from the giant carbon arc lamp’s scared me even as the magnitude and, well, gravity of the monumental photographs that its light illuminated astonished me. On my second visit, with maybe two dozen other guests present, Gravity of Light wasn’t quite as scary — not when you see people using the carbon arc lamp’s brilliant white light to read their smart phone email. Ah, technology! But it’s still a profound exhibit — a major installation that uses photography as an intrinsic part of a created environment – and I can’t imagine that anyone interested in contemporary art or FotoFocus would want to miss it. And afterward, you’ll want to discuss what it means. Two other exhibits I attended over the weekend were Anthony Luensman’s TAINT at the Weston Art Gallery and Let's Face It: Photographic Portraits by Melvin Grier, Michael Kearns and Michael Wilson at Kennedy Heights Art Center. Luensman is one of our most talented local artists, especially ingenious with installations involving sound and light, but I didn’t get a clear indication of how or why the presence of photography (and video) is supposed to crucially matter in this mixed-media show. The Kennedy Heights exhibit had some remarkable large-scale black-and-white portraits by all three accomplished local photographers. Grier and Wilson, in their Giclee prints made from film negatives, got remarkable expressiveness their subjects like “Robert” and “Tony” (Grier) and “Thomas” and “Lamayah” (Wilson). Those Wilson photos, and some others, frame the pupils of their subjects’ eyes with a tiny white square, a stunning effect. In several of his large Giclee prints from digital photographs, Kearns achieves clarity of detail so rich (on “Chuck,” which is Wussy’s Chuck Cleaver, and “Andre”) that you could stand there and count every strand of the subjects’ hair. I don’t know who Andre is, but the way he is posed with head slightly upward and a triumphant smile emerging from a mouth that appears to be missing some teeth makes him heroically human. It’s a meaningful show.On Thursday, I attended the Cincinnati Art Museum’s reception for Herb Ritts: L.A. Style, the Getty Center-organized show of the late photographer’s black-and-white prints. Beautifully installed, this exhibit features Ritts’ fashion and celebrity work, as well as his stylized, erotically charged studies of the nude male and female torso. The show doesn’t so much chart his “progression” from high fashion to high art as it spotlights the connection between fashion and art. It also underscores that the eternal human quest for perfection is about the body as much as the mind. (Kathy Schwartz will have more on this show soon.) For opening weekend, the art museum’s Chief Curator James Crump — also FotoFocus’ co-chair — brought to town Paul Martineau, the Getty’s curator for the Ritts exhibit, and Charles Churchward, a magazine design and art director who knew Ritts and has written Herb Ritts: The Golden Hour. Martineau, it turns out, is at work on a major Robert Mapplethorpe exhibit to be presented by the Getty and Los Angeles County Museum of Art in 2016. (Getty Research Institute and LACMA recently acquired some 2,000 of his photographs, and the Getty already had acquired the archives of Sam Wagstaff, Mapplethorpe’s collector/lover.) Martineau told me it might travel. Cincinnati would be a perfect venue for it — Crump has made a documentary about Mapplethorpe and Wagstaff, the authoritative Black White + Gray. Is it too early to start a Facebook campaign to bring that Mapplethorpe exhibit to Cincinnati? Any volunteers? Watch for Contributing Visual Art Editor Steven Rosen’s FotoFocus blog postings all month. Contact him at srosen@citybeat.com.
 
 

The Scariness and Brilliance of the Starns’ ‘Gravity of Light’

0 Comments · Wednesday, October 3, 2012
Doug and Mike Starn's photography-related installation Gravity of Light involves a carbon arc lamp with light so brilliant it could cause eye damage if you stared at it unprotected.   

‘Project Obscura’ Puts Focus on Communities

0 Comments · Wednesday, September 19, 2012
It’s appropriate that Project Obscura at Northside’s Prairie Gallery opened before FotoFocus officially kicks off Oct. 5. After all, the camera obscura (Latin for “dark chamber”) led to the modern camera.  

Sex Slavery Survivors Shine in 'Another Me'

1 Comment · Wednesday, September 5, 2012
The young women photographed in Another Me: Transformations from Pain to Power have all been victims of kidnapping or outright sale of themselves into sex slavery. One is as young as 8 years old, none are more than 22. Rescued and placed in the Sanlaap Shelter in Kolkata, they found returning to a self they had lost hard going.  

Fall Arts Picks

Onstage, visual arts and lit

0 Comments · Wednesday, August 29, 2012
FOTOFOCUS might be taking over many local arts venues this fall, but local theaters, galleries, dance companies and others have another full slate of thoughtful entertainment in store.   

New Art Book and Projects for Shinji Turner-Yamamoto

0 Comments · Wednesday, August 22, 2012
The most profound and beautiful art installation of recent years in Cincinnati — an inspiration for what public art here can be — was Shinji Turner-Yamamoto’s 2010 “Hanging Garden.” It continues to have an afterlife.  

FotoFocus Revisits Rexroth's Classic Iowa

0 Comments · Tuesday, July 10, 2012
When FotoFocus — the new citywide celebration of photography and lens-based art — occurs in October, there will be so many artists and venues involved it will be hard to choose which to see and when. While I am looking forward to all of it, one photographer I am particularly eager to see isn’t that famous, but has certainly made an impact. Nancy Rexroth, who will be presenting new work from her landmark Iowa project, is sharing with Judi Parks and Jane Alden Stevens a show called Landscapes of the Mind: Metaphor, Archetype and Symbol 1971-2012 at YWCA Women’s Gallery. It opens Oct. 5.  
by Jac Kern 02.22.2012
Posted In: TV/Celebrity, Northside, Music, Movies, Life at 03:20 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
arianna-huffington-political-news-commentary-opinion

Your Wednesday To Do List

Arianna Huffington, Uta Barth in town

Arianna Huffington is speaking as a part of SmartTalk ConnectedConversations tonight at the Aronoff Center. The media queen will discuss how she became "fearless in love, work and life" (a phrase taken from the title of her 2007 bestseller). Huffington has made her mark as an author of 13 books, co-founder of The Huffington Post, Republican-turned-liberal and even the voice of a character on The Cleveland Show. Get 'em, girl! Tickets to this insightful femme-fest are still available here.In quirkier event news, did you know there's a monthly meet-up of the Skeptical Society of Cincinnati where the group introduces a professional scientist to the public? Cincy Science Cafe is a casual gathering (usually at a bar) where the community can learn about interesting discoveries being made by area scientists. Tonight the crew meets at Glendale's Cock & Bull at 6 p.m. Go here for details.Gearing up for October's exciting FotoFocus exhibition, the organization presents a lecture tonight with Los Angeles-based photographer Uta Barth. Barth is known for her painterly photos, employing unconventional methods to create a whole new way of viewing photographs. Barth has been awarded with numerous grants and fellowships and has most recently exhibited at The Art Institute of Chicago. She's a pretty big deal. The Cincinnati Art Museum hosts this FotoFocus lecture tonight at 7 p.m. Find more information here.Wednesdays are extra sexy at Northside Tavern — Sexy Time Live Band Karaoke takes over the back room this night each week. For those unfamiliar, STLBK is just how it sounds — the ultimate karaoke experience. You provide the vocals (and preferably hot dance moves) while a live band accompanies you. Be a Rock Star for, like, four minutes! Check out the group on Facebook. SexyTime for details and the song list. STLBK kicks off at 9 p.m.As always, there are plenty of live shows, theater productions and ongoing art exhibits to check out tonight. See our music blog and full To Do list for more.
 
 

Expansion Plans in a Recession

Arts organizations and events are adapting to the tough economic climate

0 Comments · Wednesday, August 31, 2011
“I've had the opportunity to learn patience,” says Tod Swormstedt, founder of the American Sign Museum. He’s talking about a problem that other Cincinnati arts organizations and supporters of planned festivals, theater renovations and other projects have to share — how to raise money as the Great Recession grinds on.  

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