Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Wishing You the Best

Merry whatever you celebrate, and thank you for all of your support in 2009. This blog is going on hiatus until January 5, when the university will be back and operating, so check with us then. All of our best wishes to you for a happy 2010!

Construction Updates from Holder

Here's construction update #24, through today (Wednesday, December 23).

Current week - Activities/Issues:
New Gallery / Connector
• Skylights have been installed.
• North and West exterior wall vapor barrier is complete.
• Gallery TPO roof membrane is complete.
• Continued to install exterior limestone façade.
• Completed CMU masonry on the 1st floor.
• Started MEP overhead on 1st floor.
• Started connector SOG waterproofing.

Existing Building Renovations
• Completed the demo of the existing east entry.

Storage Bar
• Completed erecting structural steel.
• Completed structural tie-ins to the existing building.

Next week - Activities/Issues:
New Gallery / Connector
• Working on connector roofing.
• Continue to install the exterior vapor barrier and limestone.
• Continue spray fireproofing in the gallery.
• Started MEP overhead in the gallery.
• Continue to prep for the connector SOG and elevated deck.
• Start the connector roofing.
• Start layout for connector curtain wall.
• Damp proof the 1st floor CMU.

Existing Building Renovations
• Continue with the MEP overhead rough-in.

Storage Bar
• Start installing metal decking.
• Start the exterior concrete wall waterproofing / vapor barrier.
• Fine grade SOG.

Storage bar structure

2nd-floor ceiling fireproofing

Connector structure


Yesterday, some staff members and several museum patrons took a day trip from Athens over to Birmingham, Alabama.

For the first stop we visited the Birmingham Museum of Art. Our primary objective was to see the installation of the Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness: American Art from the Yale University Art Gallery exhibition.

From the BMA's site:

"Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness: American Art from the Yale University Art Gallery offers an unprecedented opportunity to experience American history through more than 230 masterpieces from one of the finest and oldest collections of American art in the world. From the arrival of the first European settlers to the Gilded Age, this major exhibition tells America’s story through paintings, prints, drawings, photographs, furniture, silver, and ceramics from Yale University’s renowned collection."

We also enjoyed viewing the permanent collection galleries at the museum. After lunch, the group walked over to the Linn-Henley Research Library of the Birmingham Public Library to see the murals created by Ezra Winter. From their site:

"In the late 1920s, the Birmingham Library Board commissioned Ezra Winter to paint a mural series for the main reading room in the newly constructed library building. In addition, he was also asked to paint a mural depicting famous fairy tales for the children's room. The murals for both areas were executed in oils on canvas in Winter's New York studio. There were later affixed to the walls of the library with white lead, and Winter himself was present to supervise this installation."

Slide show of pictures from that part of the day:

During the mid-afternoon, the entire group had the great pleasure of visiting an exquisite private collection of images by the Ashcan School. Some of the group then departed for Athens while others went and visited an historic, private home in Anniston, Alabama to pick up some watercolors by Nell Shute gifted to the Georgia Museum of Art.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Important Read

CultureGrrl has an update on the deaccessioning situations at Fisk and Randolph College that all parties who care about the future of university museums should read. The short version is that, even though both institutions have stabilized financially to some extent, the sale of works is now seen as an option, and it's hard to stuff the genie back in the bottle.

Construction Photos

The staff is almost through with site visits, at least as far as we know. We've been going two at a time, escorted by Annelies Mondi, deputy director, and we've finally hit B and C. Tim Brown and Deirdre Conneely went this week, and Tim took lots of photos, which you can click through below.

GMOA on Your Phone

So, if you're hip enough to have a smartphone that uses Android, Issuu, where GMOA keeps flash versions of all its newsletters and is working on archiving past brochures, is now accessible while you're out and about in the world. The company plans to introduce Issuu Mobile for iPhone and iPod Touch soon, and if you follow the link above, you can sign up to be notified when it's got that ready.

Monday, December 21, 2009

The Porch: Revisited

Remember when we told you about the filming of The Porch, a new half-hour talk show filmed at Athens' own Hotel Indigo and featuring some good friends of the museum? Well, set your DVRs or program your VCRs or mark your calendars, as the show will air on WNEG-TV on December 23 at 7:30 p.m.; December 24 at 7:30 p.m.; December 25 at 11:30 a.m.; and December 27 at 8:30 a.m. Here's the official site, if you want to bookmark it or watch the promo video that's available.

Take Your Vitamins, Artists

If you haven't been appreciated yet, maybe you just haven't been alive long enough. The New York Times has an article on 94-year-old Carmen Herrera (with slideshow), who didn't sell a painting until she was 89 despite the fact that she's been creating them for six decades. So take care of yourselves, but "don’t be abstemious!" as Herrera says... The other entertaining part of the article is a brief discussion of what we assume is the work pictured above:
When pressed about what looks to some like a sensual female shape in the painting, she said: “Look, to me it was white, beautiful white, and then the white was shrieking for the green, and the little triangle created a force field. People see very sexy things — dirty minds! — but to me sex is sex, and triangles are triangles.”

Exhibitions Elsewhere

Today's Art Daily covers an upcoming exhibition at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia that focuses on female Pop Artists. As with many widely studied art movements, woman participants have been underrepresented and remain relatively obscure. The exhibition's official page highlights a few more, with images.

We're also intrigued by the spring 2010 installation Christian Boltanski plans for the Park Avenue Armory. We can't really picture it, but it seems bold and interesting.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Art Around Athens

Flicker Bar in downtown Athens is holding what may well be the very last holiday market of the season this Saturday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Julie Phillips has some details and the Facebook event page has more. We hope for your sake that you have all your shopping done, but if you haven't (much more likely), this event is a nice last chance to pick up some locally made gifts and whatnot.

Vandalism or Art?

Which do you think Kevin Harman's piece of performance art, which involved him putting a pole through the window of a UK gallery, is? You can watch video at the link above. It's less dramatic than it sounds, due to the artist's decision to use a scaffolding pole rather than a brick and the window's thickness and presumably shatterproof glass, but it does raise interesting issues. Harman paid for the window in advance, which lends some credence to his argument, but it also doesn't seem that the gallery knew about it ahead of time. Do we have to choose? Don't you take the risk that you'll be charged for an act like this just as if you'd taken your clothes off in public or something comparable? Isn't the risk and transgression part of the art? Does art have to be art only, not overlapping with other categories of human behavior? Philosophical thoughts for your weekend.

Collectors Holiday Party

The Collectors held their holiday party this past Tuesday (December 15), and here are the photos from it. Click here for more information about joining the Collectors.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Art Around Athens

Three more Athens-area art events take place tonight. If you read our local paper, you already know about the two cool new bike rack/pieces of public art installed in front of the Classic Center in downtown Athens. Designed by Joshua Jordan and Michael Ely, they're practical and attractive, and BikeAthens is showcasing them from 4 to 6 p.m. this evening. After you've seen them in person, move over to The Globe for the BikeAthens Art Bash, where you can bid on local art inspired by alternative transportation and quaff some of the great beverages available there.

Out in Watkinsville, from 5 to 9 p.m., Main Street Yarns is hosting a dessert social and art reception for "Creepy and Cute at Christmas," an exhibition featuring paintings, shadowboxes, marionettes and more by local artist Cindy Jerrell.

And from 6 to 8 p.m., Georgetown Frames (50 Gaines School Rd.) is having a free holiday open house featuring local holiday arts and crafts, live music and refreshments.

New Media

New Scientist has a small gallery up of art created using microbes. What's most interesting is that it isn't really found art, the way you might think. Instead, it includes people like Erno-Erik Raitanen, less a scientist than an artist who makes use of science to create works as conceptual as they are oddly beautiful.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Art Around Athens

The holiday opening, open-house and art sale schedule is finally starting to slow down a little, after a frenetic few weeks, but there are even a couple of things going on this Wednesday evening.

Also, starting tonight and continuing Thursday through Saturday, our friends at Terrapin Beer Company (which will once again host The Art of: Brew next year) are hosting tours and music from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Check their site for details and directions.

Disposal = Failure?

One article from Art Daily that we've meant to blog about for a while is this one on artist Michael Landy's new project, "Art Bin." Landy is accepting applications for work to be displayed in the South London Gallery and then to be disposed of. The project has its own site, which doesn't contain many more details than the article (e.g., will the works just be piled on the floor? The emphasis on the cubic space of the gallery would suggest so). As the article puts it, "Over the course of the six-week exhibition the enormous 600m³ bin will gradually fill up as people discard their art works in it, ultimately creating, in Michael Landy’s words, 'a monument to creative failure.'" But is failure the only reason to dispose of art? And what does Landy mean by "failure"? Artists, even relatively popular ones, know that much of the work they create fails to sell, and storage space is always limited. Failure to retail a work of art is indeed failure in a sense, but is that what Landy's talking about?

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

One Less Blogger in the Art Blog World

As a blogger myself, although a still fledging one, I was disappointed to hear that Richard Lacayo, the art blogger for the Time Web site, has decided to stop working on his blog. He says he is overworked and cannot dedicate any more time researching and writing for it, as he needs to be dedicating more time to the rest of his job requirements, such as writing for the magazine and for the homepage about art and architecture. Lacayo talks about his reason for dropping the blog: “Within a month after I started blogging it was clear to me that a daily blog is also quite a daily grind. I may be mistaken, but I think I've been the only critic at any major American newspaper or magazine who maintains a daily artsblog that's also a one-person operation”; essentially, no time for blogging, for our Time journalist.

for more on Lacayo, check out his personal profile page on the Time website


Seeing Art

“I was talking to my cat the other day, and I realized it was my backpack,” Ms. Kitazawa exclaims. One of a handful of legally blind artists included in the national juried exhibition “Insights,” she was declared legally blind in February due to advanced glaucoma and started becoming incredibly productive in the art realm, according to the New York Times. The impairment has allowed her to fulfill a dormant dream: to create riveting visual artistic landscapes. One of her exhibited pieces, pictured above, consists of two circular fabric-based figures with a painted background. “I think my work is about being lost, in part. How I see is sort of my subject,” says Kitazawa.

“Insights” is in its 20th year and is one of the country’s most selective “exhibitions of paintings, photographs and mixed-media pieces by legally blind artists.”

The exhibition includes a number of supremely talented blind artists, among them photographers, painters, mixed media artists, etc. One photographer, Pete Eckert, takes pictures of images he perceives through sound; by imagining the bouncing and interaction of waves surrounding and interacting with an object, he can grasp and “see” a scene.

For more pictures, check out the slide show on the New York Times’ Web site

Updates from Holder Construction

Here's the report from the week ending December 11.

Current week - Activities/Issues:
New Gallery / Connector
• Continued to install skylights.
• Continued to install Gallery TPO roof membrane.
• Continued to install exterior wall vapor barrier.
• Continued to install exterior limestone façade.
• Completed CMU masonry on the 1st floor.
• Started MEP overhead on 1st floor.
• Completed the connector structure.
• Started connector SOG waterproofing.

Existing Building Renovations
• Completed the demo of the existing east entry.
• Starred the mechanical overhead in the Kennedy/Alston gallery.

Storage Bar
• Started erecting structural steel.
• Completing structural tie-ins to the existing building.

Next week - Activities/Issues:
New Gallery / Connector
• Complete the TPO roofing system and parapets.
• Continue to install the exterior vapor barrier and limestone.
• Start spray fireproofing in the gallery.
• Start MEP overhead in the gallery.
• Continue to pour the connector SOG and elevated deck.
• Start the connector roofing.
• Start layout for connector curtainwall.

Existing Building Renovations
• Start MEP overhead rough-in.

Storage Bar
• Continue erecting structural steel.

Storage bar structure

Skylights installed

Exterior limestone skin

Monday, December 14, 2009

New Media

Thanks to cool stitchy blog Mr. X Stitch and a link from a friend, we've discovered artist Benjamin Shine, whose works look like sketches from afar but, in fact, are created with mixed media threaded through eyelets screwed into various backgrounds. The image of Prince Albert of Monaco that appears above, for example, was created using reused plastic bags threaded through recycled plastic eyelets screwed into granulated, heat-compressed recycled bottles. Amazing, no?

Museum Expansions

Prompted by an article in the New York Times that declares in its headline, "In the Arts, Bigger Buildings May Not Be Better," CultureGrrl has some good thoughts on the matter, pointing out some inaccuracies and some crucial cases overlooked, as well as taking a more measured stance. Yes, many arts institutions seem to build huge structures on a whim, focusing on sexy architecture and the potential of increased tourism more than actual needs, and perhaps we're particularly sensitive to criticisms of this sort, being right smack in the middle of a building project ourselves (a desperately needed expansion!), but the article does seem like the kind of not particularly thoughtful questioning of what the journalist perceives as received wisdom. Here's the key paragraph from Rosenbaum's response on her blog:
Nevertheless, museum expansion isn't an evil to be avoided, as Robin's article seems to suggest. It just needs to be done for the right reasons and with a secure financial underpinning. That means not only knowing in advance where the necessary construction money is coming from, but also amassing the endowment funds required to cover the increased operating costs of the expanded facility. If you don't know where that money is coming from, you need to delay the project. There's nothing wrong with that.

Digging Daura: Christmas Cards

Above: “Making Your Own Christmas Cards No Lost Art Here” from The News, Lynchburg, VA, Sunday Morning, December 14, 1952, section IV, p. 1

As promised in previous “Digging Daura” posts, I’m sharing more images this week, and holiday-themed ones at that. This installment showcases some of the Daura family Christmas cards in the embedded slideshow below.

We are fortunate to have an explanation of the history of these cards from the artist’s daughter, Martha Daura:

Christmas Cards 1930-76

The Daura Christmas/New Year card tradition began with the 1930-31 (Dec. 1930 – Jan. 1931) holiday season after Pierre and Louise moved from Paris to St. Cirq-Lapopie in July 1930. From that season through the 1938-39 season, while Pierre lived in France, with one exception, the “cards” were original engravings or block prints produced by Pierre in limited editions as gifts for family and friends. It is unlikely that prints were made for either the 1934-35 season when Pierre was in Virginia, or the 1937-38 season before Pierre had recovered from his Spanish Civil War wounds. The only information available regarding prints made while Pierre lived in France is from the plates, blocks or prints in the GMOA collection, and inventories. The exception card referred to above was a commercial reprint of an oil painting. From the 1939-40 season until Pierre’s death in 1976, the cards were commercial reprints of original works, usually drawings. They were printed in fairly large editions.

GMOA in the News

We got out our press release on the Fifth Henry D. Green Symposium of the Decorative Arts last week, and it ran in Art Daily on Saturday, where you may have missed it. Here's the link!

Friday, December 11, 2009


The twentieth century proved that good art does not need to be beautiful in the classical sense. It need not necessarily concern itself with verisimilitude, with a lifelike representation of the physical world around us. It needn’t be a bucolic landscape or a female nude. However, successful art of any period—in my opinion, at least—does need to address the world around us, providing a personal response to our shared culture and representing it in a way that makes us consider it anew.

Treading, an installation by Judith McWillie’s undergraduate studio art class currently on view in the main hall leading to our temporary offices in the old visual arts building, is a work that fulfills this requirement of relevance. It is a challenging piece, but one worth the effort required to take it all in and to understand what it’s all about. At first glance, it can be overwhelming, for some, even off-putting. It’s not “pretty” in a traditional sense. It’s not safe nor is it particularly easy to grasp all at once. A group collaboration with the goal of making a site-specific installation might have made creating a cohesive work difficult. The result could have been a hodgepodge of individual works that failed to come together as a whole, or it might have been a blandly unified piece that settled for the lowest common denominator. Instead, an agreed upon set of formal parameters provide cohesion while allowing each individual voice to speak freely. With the first aim of filling the available wall, each participant chose a fifty foot by six inch strip of material on which they each wrote a text of their choosing, hanging the strips in long, horizontal stripes that cover the wall. In the process of hanging these stripes, the group decided to extend the texts further, filling the glass walls, doors, and windows in the surrounding space with their writing. The result is a multiplicity of voices, each component maintaining its individuality while creating a pluralistic but unified whole.

Comparisons can be made to some of the most important trends in contemporary art. It can be related to Minimalism, not in its aesthetic, which is far from minimal, but in the way it acknowledges the relationship between the work and viewer in real space. Like the work of Carl Andre, Dan Flavin, or Donald Judd, this is not simply a picture on a wall that one can stand and look at, nor is it a work of sculpture with a clearly defined point from which it may be viewed. You have to engage with it and move around, to follow its lead—figuratively and literally—to understand what it’s all about. The heavy emphasis on text puts Treading firmly in the camp of conceptual art. Although Marcel Duchamp’s emphasis on the idea over the craft of art marks him as a forerunner of this style, Joseph Kosuth is typically cited as the most immediate progenitor of conceptual art. Kosuth’s canonical One and Three Chairs (1965), for instance, juxtaposed a picture of a chair, a real chair, and a dictionary definition of “chair,” essentially questioning what constitutes artistic representation. Bruce Nauman’s sentences crafted from neon lights and Ian Hamilton Finlay’s concrete poems on various materials may also be seen as heirs of this trend.

More recently, provocative artists like Barbara Kruger and Jenny Holzer have become well known for their text-based art. Holzer’s “Truisms” series consists of aphorism-like statements printed on a variety of objects—postcards, t-shirts, golf balls—in a simple, bold font. Statements like “EVERYONE’S WORK IS EQUALLY IMPORTANT” and “EXCEPTIONAL PEOPLE DESERVE SPECIAL TREATMENT” become absurd in their contradictions, demanding a reconsideration of received wisdom. Kruger uses similarly authoritative, declarative statements, such as “I shop therefore I am” (1987), overlaid on stark, black and white photographs. Both Kruger and Holzer reference consumer culture, using strategies common to advertising and marketing, and both artists stress their background in mass media. This critical stance towards consumerism also points to another important facet of conceptual art, its non-commercial nature and the lack of an easily sellable object. Performance art “Happenings” and installations became favorite media of artists of the 1960s and 1970s. Although both are as old as art itself, they became distinct categories of visual art making only in the late 1960s. Graffiti/street art, a stylistic trope that has been employed to great effect by countless artists since the 1980s—think Keith Haring or, more recently, Shepard Fairey—also figures into Treading, especially where the text continues into the surrounding space (if it were not erasable ink, it would literally be graffiti).

Clearly, the artists who participated in Treading have learned their lessons from art history, but they’ve also made something of their own. The coolly removed aesthetic of Holzer, Kruger, and Kosuth, is at odds with the highly personal, handwritten scripts in Treading, many of which could even be described as expressionistic. The individual texts used in the installation come from a variety of different sources. Some have a clear agenda. Chessie McGarity presents quotations from different religious texts of the world, all of which describe what most of us know as the “golden rule.” In doing so, she makes the point that for all of the conflicts that arise due to different religious beliefs, there are far more important and compelling commonalities than differences. Other texts have a personal significance for the artist, such as a favorite poem—for instance, Octavio Paz’s “Prologue,” used by Sarah Bohannan. Margaret George uses a favorite song lyric from Radiohead’s “Jigsaw Falling Into Place.” Some texts are repetitive, such as Nicole Levy’s, which draws from the Notorious B.I.G.’s “Mo Money Mo Problems,” repeating the phrase over and over on top of photocopied enlargements of dollar bills, or Mary Ellen Andersen’s repeated “Achachachacha…,” also a song title and lyric, but one that references the artist’s biography, coming from a fireside song that became a mainstay at the summer camp for homeless children where she worked. Other texts are used as much like found materials as quotations. Melissa Lee presents a text message conversation between herself and her boyfriend. Lindsey Reynolds used snippets of conversations overheard in class. Abby Newland sums up the sentiment most students are probably feeling this time of year: “I have no time, I have no time, I have no time…” In the context of this installation, these varied texts all serve as indicators of personal taste, style, and beliefs. They give us an idea of who the artist is and what they care about.

In naming the installation, the group wanted something evocative yet ambiguous. “To tread” can be used in the context of treading water, a continuous effort exerted to stay afloat. It can refer to a tire tread, something that goes around and around, providing traction but slowing wearing out. It can suggest treading on foot, again bringing us back to the issue of our navigation through a physical space. All of these meanings seem relevant to me. Aside from the fact that the viewer is compelled to follow each text, laid out in a path not unlike the marks left by a tire’s tread, it brings to my mind a parallel with walking through a busy university campus. Like the student body at large, each participant in this collaboration was given free reign within a set of predetermined parameters. The choice of materials—ranging from various sorts of fabric, most of them art materials like canvas and silk screen, to tinfoil (Patrick Triggs), or even plastic bags ironed together (Frankie Porter)—is almost like the choice of clothing made each morning, a indicator of who we are, or at least what we want to present as our public persona. Like Lindsey Reynolds’s literal presentation of overheard conversations, the disparate texts taken as a whole become much like the audio background of our daily lives, a cacophony of voices mingling with bits of music from cars and nearby headphones that surround us on crowded sidewalks between classes. In this way, Treading provides real insight into the diverse but not entirely dissimilar elements of campus life.

We at GMOA extend our sincere thanks to Judy McWillie and her class: Mary Ellen Andersen, Sarah Bohannan, Erika Burke, Anna Beth Eason, Margaret George, Kathryn Amand Green, Erin Haas, Stephanie Hammermiller, Lauren Kesler, Melissa Lee, Nicole Levy, Chessie McGarity, Abby Newland, Frankie Porter, Lindsey Reynolds, Claudia Santillan, and Patrick Triggs.

Museum Attendance Declining in the United States

The NEA held a webcast roundtable discussion of its 2008 Survey of Public Participation in the Arts yesterday, which will be archived on its site but isn't yet. We also can't locate the actual survey results, but they must be up somewhere, right? This press release discusses some of the 2008 survey's findings, which are somewhat disheartening, showing, as they do, a decline, especially among the young, in arts participation, including visiting museums. The release seems to correlate this decline with the comparable decline in arts instruction in schools, which may be a fair point. At the same time, continual increase in attendance charges probably serves as a factor, too. Ditto for budget cuts that have resulted in reduced hours. One positive thing the survey shows is that technology can serve as a vehicle for arts participation (we at GMOA are continually striving to bring in new audiences through exactly that). What do you think accounts for declining attendance?

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Art Around Athens (and Beyond)

This weekend is another busy one for the art world in Athens!

Thursday, December 10, at the UGA Visual Arts Building, the Georgia Museum of Art will host a Holiday Shop and Book Sale in the lobby. The sale is sponsored by the Friends of the Georgia Museum of Art, the museum’s gift shop and the GMOA department of communications. The sale is from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., December 10 and 11. Call 706.542.4662 for more information.

Friday, December 11, ATHICA will host the “Not So Silent Night” silent auction, with bidding on art, jewelry, weekend getaways, computer services and more. This is the second annual fundraiser for Clarke Central High School’s student publications, “Odyssey Newsmagazine” and “Iliad Literary Magazine,” so come out and support the students. The auction opens at 7 p.m. and will close at 9 p.m. and there is a suggested donation of $10. Visit for more information.

Also this weekend, Blue Tin Art Studio is hosting an art sale featuring affordable art by local artists Erin McIntosh, Sarah Seabolt, Denton Crawford, Craig Hawkins, Marie Porterfield and David Savino. The sale is Friday, December 10, from noon to 10 p.m.; Saturday, December 11, from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.; and Sunday, December 12, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Friday, December 11, through Sunday, December 13, Good Dirt is hosting its Annual Holiday Pottery Sale. This is the 12th annual sale featuring functional pottery and ceramic sculpture from a wide selection of Athens-area studio potters. The sale will be open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day. Also, every Friday Good Dirt hosts a weekly “Try Clay” class from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. and a “Family Try Clay” class on Sunday from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. for $20 per person. These are great ways to experiment with different types of art, so why not try something new? Call 706.355.3161 or visit for more information.

Saturday, December 12, Crocker Pottery in Lula, Ga. (6345 W. County Line Rd.), is hosting its Christmas Kiln sale. This sale features over 150 pieces for freshly made pottery by Michael and other Crocker family members. There will be face jugs, "pigs," snake jugs, grape pots, ring jugs, Rebekah pitchers, miniatures and more with Meaders and other North Georgia pottery for sale! Contact 770.869.3160 for more information.

Also Saturday, White Tiger Gourmet is hosting a holiday art market from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. There will be a variety of handmade jewelry from local artists and vintage items to choose from, along with some tasty treats from White Tiger. Visit their Facebook event page for more details.

Soup Studios (2140 S. Lumpkin Street) is hosting its annual holiday studio this Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Come and warm up with some hot apple cider and enjoy Soup Studios’ newest pieces. You can expect fun hats, clay and sterling jewelry, and an entire line of functional pottery. Call 706.340.1973 or visit for more information.

Saturday as well, the Old Clarke County Jail (380 B Meigs Street) is hosting a free holiday open house. Charles Pinckney is opening up his studio to the public. You can find hand-crafted wearable sculpture, including earrings, pendants and bracelets, as well as unique furniture and decor. The open house is from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Call 706.614.6115 or visit for more information.

Saturday, December 12, and Sunday, December 13, Carter Gillies Pottery (572 Nantahala Ave.) is hosting the Absolute Crockery! pottery sale. The sale features work by local potters including Geoff and Lisa Pickett, Jeff Bishoff, Jim Peckham, Julie Greene and Juana Gnecco. The sale is from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Call 706.546.7235 or visit for more information.

Also Saturday and Sunday in Elberton, at 3558 Ruckersville Road, is the 24th Annual Jeanne Mack Studio Open House, offering food, new friends, and plenty of great new art! Each year, Jeanne designs a new snowman print for everyone who attends as a gift of appreciation. When you buy art you’ll receive a gift, as well as if you bring cat food in support of Jeanne and Glenn’s cat rescue. The open house is from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. both Saturday and Sunday. Call 706.283.5959 for directions and more information.

Sunday, December 13, Brick House Studio is hosting another Holiday Market from noon to 5 p.m. You can expect jewelry and various other handmade goods from local artists. Visit for more information.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Do Artists Have The Legal Right to Protect Their Art from Mutilation and Destruction?

The plaintiff is artist Chapman Kelley, who created the Wildflower Works in Chicago’s Grant Park. His public art project, a 1.5-acre self-sustaining wildlife garden, designed to thrive without watering, fertilizer or insecticides, was intentionally destroyed by the Park District about five years ago. Alex Karan, Kelley’s lawyer, has taken this case pro bono because he worries that the district court “not only denies legal protection to any site-specific public art, but throws into question any artist’s rights,” says Deena Isaacs of the Chicago Reader. The Park District staff notified him, nearly 20 years after the work’s installation, that the garden would be replaced with a more grandiose and extravagant garden, nearing $700,000 in cost and who knows how much more in upkeep. Kelley was especially aggravated when the park did not even let him remove his artwork, to be able to install it somewhere else.

“His lawsuit charges the Park District with breach of contract and violation of his rights under the 1990 federal Visual Artists Rights Act. (The Park District did not return calls for comment.)…Under VARA, artists have the right to protect their work from modification or destruction no matter who owns it, and must be given 90 days to remove any piece that's threatened. But VARA defines an artwork as a painting, drawing, print, sculpture, or photograph original enough to qualify for copyright.”, says the Chicago Reader.

The works qualified as sculpture/drawing under the VARA act umbrella, much to Kelley and Karan’s relief. Ultimately, the court ruled in Kelley’s favor: “For each argument that the City lawyer raised, the court responded with one of the arguments that we had briefed and made clear that they thought the City was dead wrong.”

The Chicago Reader article also mentions Karan’s struggle with advanced cancer, which left him too weak to finish working on the case. The rest of the case was passed on to another young litigator from Kirkland and Ellis, Micah Marcus. The Reader links to Karan’s blog,, and gives regular updates on his condition.

For more information and detail on the Kelley case, visit the Reader web site

Turner Prize Announced

Surprisingly, it's gone to Richard Wright, who created a subtly stunning wall painting of gold filigree. The Guardian has a nice write-up, complete with some good video content at the beginning. Rachel Campbell-Johnston, in the Times online, expresses the prevailing opinion, which is a sort of happy shock. Does Wright's garnering of the prize, a year before he would no longer have been eligible, express some kind of sea change in the art world, a yearning for less controversy and more craftsmanship? Or was he just the best entrant this year?


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Monday, December 07, 2009

Digging Daura: Mondrian's studio through the eyes of Louise Blair Daura

This week’s “Digging Daura” post is the last in our subseries of excerpts from the letters of Louise Blair Daura to her family. Here she describes a visit to Piet Mondrian’s Paris studio in April of 1930. Her description of the studio’s design, which is, in effect, an extension of Mondrian’s canvases, illustrates the artist’s desire “to establish international unity in life, art, culture, either intellectually or materially.“[1] A photograph of Mondrian’s New York studio in the 1940s is often pictured in art historical texts to demonstrate the same strategy. Louise’s description of Mondrian’s photo album, with which he explained his gradual embrace of a totally abstract painting style, is even more significant, supporting, as it does, the now classic lecture on Mondrian in which art history professors do the same thing with images showing his progression from early works to his mature style.

When I left Jean, I went to join Pierre at Mondrian’s studio.[2] Mondrian is the founder of the Constructivist movement in art, and works with the simplest of elements; red, blue, yellow, black and white, unmixed, are the only colors he uses, and squares, rectangles and black lines the only forms. He is 58, and showed us an album of photos of his paintings from the age of seventeen, clearly showing the evolution which he has undergone from Academicism, through Cubism, to his present form. He has written numerous books on the “neo-Plasticism” as he calls his art, and has paintings in the museums of Holland, Prague, and Germany. His studio is as interesting as his paintings. The walls, chairs, tables and easels are painted with white Ripolin, and all the accessories, such as boxes, victrola, etc. are painted in red, blue or yellow Ripolin, and placed so carefully that nothing must be moved out of its proper place.[3] The walls are decorated with different sized squares of red, blue and yellow, placed at calculated but not symmetrical distances. On the white cupboards and tables would be painted a small rectangle of color, and all so calculated that it was impossible not to admire it, though I had never seen anything like it before. The floor was very dark and highly polished, with grey rugs scattered about, and the divan was grey also. With all of those colors at their maximum intensity, the proportion of each in reference to the whole was so perfect that it was at once gay and restful. He showed us his paintings, one of which is square, and hung by one of its points, in diamond shape, with only four lines on its perfect, white surface. As we discussed it, he explained how long he had worked on it, how difficult it had been, because the slightest increase in size of the top line or change in position made the picture too “tragic.” He works for weeks on one picture, to get a surface as united and perfect as if it had been painted with one stroke of a large brush dipped in Duco, and he is as pre-occupied with the proportions of one square in reference to another as ever Rubens was to suspend the chariot of Victory in air above a riotous scene of battle.[4]

(Louise Blair Daura letter to family, April 17, 1930, Pierre Daura Archive, Georgia Museum of Art, University of Georgia)

Next week’s “Digging Daura” post will present some of the Christmas-themed items in the archive.

[1] “De Stijl: Maifesto 1,” first published in De Stijl, V, no. 4 (Amsterdam, 1922), reprinted in Charles Harrison and Paul Wood, eds., Art in Theory: 1900-2000 (Blackwell Publishing: Malden, MA, 2003) p. 281.

[2] Piet Mondrian (1872-1944), Dutch painter, founder of De Stijl movement and creator of a style of abstract painting he named Neo-Plasticism, which was both a source for and a subset of the larger Constructivist movement in Europe in the 1920s.

[3] Ripolin remains a popular, French brand of enamel paint.

[4] Duco is an industrial paint invented in 1923 by GM for automobiles.

Above: marginalia drawing by Louise Blair Daura illustrating a painting by Mondrian.

GMOA in the News

GMOA's virtual museum in Second Life is featured in an article in Georgia Magazine titled "The New College Classroom: Closeups."

Updates from Ronnie

Here's the construction update from the week ending Friday, December 4, 2009:

Current week - Activities/Issues:
New Gallery / Connector
• Started installing the skylights at the Gallery.
• Completed the roof vapor barrier and continued to install TPO roof membrane.
• Continued the exterior wall vapor barrier.
• Started the exterior limestone façade.
• Continued to install CMU masonry on the 1st floor mechanical rooms.
• Started fire sprinkler system in the parking area.
• Started installing MEP overhead hangers in the gallery.
• Completed the roof decking at the connector structure.
• Delivered and set the Air Handling Units.

Existing Building Renovations
• Started to demolish the existing 1st floor East Entry.
• Removed the existing fan system from Kennedy/Alston gallery.
• Removed the balance of the 3rd floor existing carpet.

Storage Bar
• Completed all concrete foundations and retaining walls.
• Started below grade drainage and waterproofing.
• Installed the crane access road to the storage bar.

Next week - Activities/Issues:
New Gallery / Connector
• Complete the TPO roofing system.
• Continue to install the exterior vapor barrier and limestone.
• Pour the SOG for the connector.
• Build-out the balance of 1st floor walls.

Existing Building Renovations
• Removed the existing fire sprinkler system for 1st floor lobby.
• Start MEP overhead rough-in.

Storage Bar
• Start erecting structural steel.
• Prep for SOG pour.

Storage bar foundations

Gallery vapor barrier and limestone

Beginning of skylight installation

Friday, December 04, 2009

Workers continue to strike at French museums

AP Photo/Remy de la Mauviniere

The Louvre Museum and the palace at Versailles were closed yesterday due to a workers’ strike that began in November at the Pompidou Center for modern art; other workers joined this week.


Yesterday, workers blocked the tourists outside the pyramid of the Louvre courtyard. Versailles usually has thousands of visitors each day but didn’t have enough workers to open. The Pompidou Center and the Musee d’Orsay were closed as well. Workers at Francois Mitterrand National Library in Paris voted to join in today.


Union leaders met with Culture Minister Frederic Mitterrand earlier this week and did not win concessions. The culture minister said that “France could not make an exception for museum workers in a government-wide cost-cutting measure affecting all public servants, and that museums had many ways to reorganize to deal with shrinking staff members.” Labor leaders then decided to continue the strike today. 

Check out our earlier blog post by clicking here.

Call for Artists

The department of student affairs at the University of Georgia’s Gwinnett campus hosts an event for its students each week called Coffee and Culture to expose its students to various forms of art. Visual artists and musicians attend each event and coffee is served. Ellen Dutro, the graduate assistant for the department of student affairs, contacted GMOA to ask if we knew of any visual artists who would be interested in participating, so we wanted to let you know! Artists are allowed to price their items for sale. There are many opportunities to attend Coffee and Culture next semester (from early January through the end of April). Each event is from 4:30 to 6 p.m.

If you are interested in participating, email Ellen at for the list of dates and with any questions.

Art Around Athens (and Beyond)

There are plenty of different art related events going on in and around Athens this weekend. It’s a great time to get some holiday shopping done!

Friday, December 4, from 2 to 9 p.m., the Chase Street Warehouses will host the First Friday Celebration and Holiday Market. Different shops and studios in the Railroad Arts District open their doors for the holiday market. You can expect unique handmade works, live music, coffee and cider and a wealth of holiday cheer! Visit for more information.

As part of the sale, Trace Studio is hosting its own Holiday Show and Sale in the Railroad Arts District. The sale offers affordable, usable ceramic art by the Trace Studio Collective. You can find work from Annette Gates, Lauren Gallaspy, Jorire Berman, Rob Jackson, Mark Jordan and Andy Nasisse. The sale opens at 2 p.m. and will continue until 7 p.m. from December 4 to December 6. Call 706.549.6877 for more information.

The DeWitt Pottery Studio in Watkinsville is having a sale from December 4 to December 6 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day. The sale features functional stoneware and porcelain pottery. Call 706.769.5361 or visit for more information.

Marmalade Pottery (585 Barber Street, in the D.O.C. building) is also hosting a sale this weekend. The sale opens December 4 at 5 p.m. and will continue until 9 p.m., and December 5 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. It features work by Maria Dondero and Tiffany Whitfield. Call 706.248.6899 for more information.

160 Tracy Street will host the closing reception for the exhibition "Six Hundred Seventy-Three Thousand, Nine Hundred Twenty Minutes” Friday as well, from 7 to 9 p.m. The exhibit features new work from UGA MFA sculpture candidates Doug Barton and Steven Abadie and is free. Visit for more information.

Flicker Theatre & Bar will host a free opening reception at 6:30 p.m. on Friday for an exhibition of shadowbox photographic collages by Alexei Gural. Visit for more information.

The Lamar Dodd School of Art will hosts a free opening reception for “Exit Strategies,” an exhibition featuring the thesis work of BFA candidates in jewelry and metalworking, fabric design, ceramics, photography and sculpture. This reception begins at 7 p.m. and will end at 9 p.m. Visit for more information.

White Tiger Gourmet Food & Chocolates will host a free reception Friday at 6 p.m. for an exhibition featuring paintings and sculpture by local arts and art educator Leonard Piha. Call 706.353.6847 for more information.
Bendzunas Studio and Gallery will host an open house glass-blowing demonstration and holiday sale. The sale opens December 4 from 6 to 10 p.m. and continues Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Call 706.783.5869 or visit for more information.

December 5 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Winterhawk Pottery (1101 Salem Road) is having an art sale featuring southeastern Native American art. Call 706.310.1893 or visit for more information.
At 1171 Freeman Creek Road, Saturday and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., there will be an art sale featuring stoneware and porcelain pottery, dinnerware, kitchen and tableware, garden pots and more from local artists. Call 706.769.8100 or visit for more information.

283 Bar in downtown Athens will host a holiday artists’ market Saturday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., featuring an assemblage of handmade works by local artists alongside your favorite holiday cocktails. The sale features jewelry, paintings, ceramics, paper crafts, wooden toys, ornaments and handmade bags. Call 706.208.1283 for more information.

Blue Bell Gallery hosts the Blue Bell Open House and holiday celebration featuring over 40 local artists' work. There will be clay, glass, stone and steel from Tina McCullough, Barbara Bendzunas, Tammy Nance, Duane Paxson, Michael Shetterly, Beverly Babb and more. Call 706.783.4665 or visit for more information.

Saturday, from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., and Sunday, December 6, noon to 5 p.m., downtown Athens hosts the Athens Indie Craftstravaganzaa. Pledge to stay out of the malls this holiday season and support your local businesses and artists! Quirky, raw and innovative arts from local and regional artists and crafters will be on sale and display in the parking lot that adjoins Agora at the corner of Clayton and Pulaski streets. Visit for more information.

Saturday, December 5 through Sunday, December 6 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Farmington Pottery (1790 Salem Road) is hosting a pottery and art show and sale. You can expect beautiful and unique art by potter Jeff Bishoff and various local artists.

Also Saturday from, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. through Sunday, noon to 5 p.m. Morgan Pottery in Danielsville is hosting a pottery sale. Potter David Morgan will be showing and selling his own salt-glazed and gas-fired pottery. Call 706.540.3295 for more information.

Flinn Family Pottery (on Hull Rd.) will have a free studio open house from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday. Call 706.207.5923 for more information.

The same day, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., R. Wood Pottery will hold its annual holiday studio sale featuring ceramic dinnerware and unique collectables. Call 706.613.8525 for more info.

Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Oconee Cultural Arts Foundation is hosting its 15th Annual Holiday Market. The market features 70 of the region's top artists and includes pottery, paintings, fiber art, stained and fused glass, jewelry, sculpture, photography, woodwork and more. A $3 donation is requested. Visit for more information.

Also Saturday and Sunday, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Farmington Pottery will have a free pottery and art show and sale at 1790 Salem Road, featuring beautiful and unique work by potter Jeff Bishoff and various local artists.

Aurum Studio is hosting a free opening reception this Sunday, December 6 from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. for an exhibit featuring paintings by Christine Shockley-Gholson and John Gholson. Call 706.546.8826 for more information.

Also Sunday, Wolf Creek Pottery in Danielsville will host the opening reception for their Visionary Growth Gallery for "Our Way or No Way," an exhibit featuring new works by UGA Sculpture Professor Jim Buonaccorsi and painter David Barron. The reception is from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. and is free. Call 706.363.0393 or visit for more information.

The State Botanical Garden of Georgia will have a holiday open house on Sunday, from 2 to 5 p.m., which is free and open to the public. This year’s decorations celebrate birds in the garden with An Audubon Christmas. Musical entertainment includes performances by the Georgia Children’s Chorus, the Solstice Sisters and the Classic City Band, and there will be puppet shows in the children’s classroom at 2:30, 3:30 and 4:30. Mark Parsons Photography will be on hand to take photos of children (and adults) with Santa and Mrs. Claus for $10 each, payable to the photographer. The Garden Gift Shop will be open for your shopping pleasure, and you can purchase holiday treats in the newly renovated Gardenside Café.

Flagpole also has a great rundown of arts and crafts sales in the area, so check there too!