Thursday, June 30, 2011

Vanity Barcodes

We’re not sure exactly how they work. We don’t know why they look the way they do. We’re not aware of who invented them or how. But one thing is for certain: barcodes are easily the ugliest aspect of product packaging. Those little black-and-white lines appear like a curse on what would ordinarily be a work of art in the packaging world. We search for hours in the self-checkout line for that little aggravating mark. So why has no one attempted to redesign this area of disdain? Most large companies are worried that if a barcode does not scan then retailers may drop their product entirely. But a trend has started to emerge among smaller food companies: vanity barcodes. Vanity barcodes are customized barcodes that bring a little personality, and even humor, into product packaging. Some aspects of the typical barcode design cannot be changed, like the coloring or the size, but graphic artists have found ways to design around these basic principles and bring beauty to a once ignored area of design. So cheers to functional art. Hopefully one day these vanity barcodes will be common and not just for daring companies.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Horizons on video

Larry Forte, Daura art handler, made this video to document GMOA's installation of Steinnun Thorarinsdottir's "Horizons," which has been up since we reopened and will be leaving us soon, unfortunately. It's silent, but it shows how peaceful the garden can be when there aren't 100 children climbing all over everything.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Georgia Museum of Art announces the Kress Project and solicits international call for entries

Georgia Museum of Art announces the Kress Project, a two-year initiative celebrating the 50th anniversary of the museum’s Samuel H. Kress Study Collection.

The Kress Project is soliciting responses to the 12 Italian Renaissance paintings in the museum’s Kress Collection through early 2012. Submissions may include a wide variety of forms, such as academic essays, visual art, choreography, fashion design or even a recipe inspired by a work in the collection.

GMOA encourages all ages and education levels to participate in the Kress project, and is soliciting entries from both within the United States and internationally. There is no fee to submit a response. The deadline for submissions is Feb. 1, 2012 and should be submitted via The GMOA website will post entries throughout the year, and judges will select 24 winners. Each winner will receive a $500 prize and have his or her work published in a multimedia book.

The primary goal of the Kress Project is to promote the study of and response to these objects by the public at large and explore new ways to interpret the collection. The project will also be among GMOA’s most prominent efforts to enlarge and diversify the museum’s audience during its reopening year.

“We are excited at the opportunity to demonstrate the continued relevance of these paintings to a contemporary audience. We hope the array of different responses will surpass our imaginative limits of what is possible,” said Lynn Boland, GMOA Pierre Daura Curator of European Art.

Other aspects of the Kress Project include a family guide to the Kress Collection, available for free in the gallery, and an upcoming Family Day on Saturday, July 16. Relevant films, a lecture, a Senior Citizens Outreach program and a public and K–12 teaching packet are also forthcoming. An audio tour of the Kress Collection will be available this fall for download from the Kress Project website and will be accessible via smartphone while in the museum or on iPods available for checkout in the museum. The project also incorporates the museum’s biennial Trecento Symposium on early Italian art, which honors the memory of the late art historian Andrew Ladis, and will be held in the fall of 2012.

The project commemorates the gift of the paintings, in 1961, by the Samuel H. Kress Foundation. Since its arrival in Athens, and especially since the early 1990s, the Kress Study Collection has been the key motivation for GMOA’s research in early Italian art, including its most recent publication on the subject, the Corpus of Early Italian Paintings in North American Public Collections: The South.

Today, the Kress Gallery prominently features 12 Italian paintings from the Trecento and Baroque periods, as well as drawings from the Giuliano Ceseri collection and paintings, sculpture and period furniture from the High Museum of Art’s Kress Collection, all on extended loan to GMOA.

The Kress Foundation was founded in 1929 by Samuel H. Kress as a part of his own initiative to distribute his collection of more than 3,000 works of art to museums across the nation. The Kress Foundation strives to provide greater access to works in the collection outside of major urban centers. The foundation is a generous sponsor of the Kress Project.

For details on how to submit entries, images of paintings and more information about the project, visit

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Restoration of St. Paul's Cathedral

After 15 years, and £40m, the restoration of London’s treasured St. Paul’s Cathedral is now finished. Completed in 1711, St. Paul’s was the architectural masterpiece of Sir Christopher Wren. The cathedral was originally commissioned by Charles II, though the site itself has remained the same since AD 604, when the original Cathedral of St. Paul was built. The city of London is known for its pollution, and after 300 years the façade of St. Paul’s had grown black with soot and dirt. During restoration, the entire west front was covered, but now the white Portland stone shines brightly and looks almost brand new. The dean of St. Paul’s stated, “the two million worshippers, pilgrims, and visitors who come to St. Paul’s each year can now witness Wren’s original vision and see the cathedral as fresh as the day it was completed.” In addition to restoring the outside, conservationists worked hard to repair damages to the interior of the cathedral and restore the grand organ. New lights now “flood” the building, giving visitors the opportunity to view the mosaics and sculptures in all their grandeur. On Tuesday, a service will be held to commemorate the cathedral’s 300-year anniversary and the completion of the project.

Friday, June 17, 2011

"You, Me and the Bus"

If you live in the Athens area, you may have noticed that some of the bus shelters stand out a little more than others. These unique bus stops are part of “You, Me and the Bus.” The campaign is a collaborative effort between the Athens Area Arts Council (AAAC), The Athens Transit System and the Athens-Clarke Unified Government.

Recently, the bus shelters have received national attention. R.E.M. has donated their music and time urging public support to complete the bus shelters, which are intended to transform ordinary bus stops into creative, functional, public art that will inspire the people who use public transportation.

R.E.M. and AAAC have released a video highlighting the successful installation of the first nine artist-designed shelters in Athens. The video will be featured on the R.E.M. website for the month of June.

For more information, contact Valerie Aldridge,

Barnes Foundation Closing

The Barnes Foundation Gallery will close its long-time location in Merion, Pennsylvania, at the former estate of its founder, Dr. Albert Barnes, on July 3, 2011 and relocate to downtown Philadelphia.

The renowned private collection contains upwards of 9,000 works of art and is worth more than $25 billion. The collection consists predominantly of French Impressionist, Post-Impressionist and early Modern paintings by such artists as Renoir, Cézanne and Matisse, among others.

The relocation has been quite controversial. Opponents say that Dr. Barnes’ will contains instructions stating that the Foundation should always be an educational institution, and that the paintings may never be removed. The proponents for relocation have financial interests and also state that moving the collection will give more people the opportunity to see the collection.

A documentary, “The Art of the Steal,” chronicles the long and dramatic struggle for control of the Barnes Foundation. The Collectors of GMOA presented this documentary at Ciné in July 2010.

Oh Baby!

Do you find that your toddler is overly fascinated with the works of Pablo Picasso? I mean we’re all in the mood for the strong lines of Cubism every now and again, but is your baby clamoring at the sight of the “Three Musicians”? Have no fear. In a new study published by researchers at the University of Zurich, they found that babies around the age of 9 months prefer the works of Picasso to those of Claude Monet. Participants were shown works by both artists and judged based on the time they spent looking at a specific painting. Researchers credit Picasso’s bold colors and strong, contrasting lines as the reason for their appeal to infants. “Monet, on the other hand, used equiluminant colors to create blurry, shimmery effects. It is possible that infants prefer paintings with clear contrasts in luminance.” Perhaps, though, this is just proof that we begin developing a taste for the visual arts at an extremely young age. All the more reason to join us for Family Days at GMOA!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

All Creatures slideshow

A few photographs, taken late this morning by me and Mary Koon, of our exhibition All Creatures Great and Small in the T Terminal at the Atlanta airport:

The Big Debate: Museum Fees

Here at the Georgia Museum of Art, admission to the museum is always free, but elsewhere the topic of museum fees continues to be discussed. This week the Metropolitan Museum of Art announced a plan to raise its admission fee from $20 to $25. Though the admission is simply a “suggested donation,” some critics argue that this increase will discourage visitors of a lower economic standing. Should museums that receive taxpayers’ dollars be allowed to charge for admission? Some say that going to a museum should be considered a “treat” and that, just like going to a professional sports game, everything comes with a price. But what about the educational benefits that museums offer? If the price of admission is raised past a level that can be viewed as “midrange,” then students are less likely to spend some of their hard-earned money on a ticket. So the question is: does the need for income outweigh the cultural benefits of a free museum?

Art in Action

There is some amazing color footage from 1939 of Diego Rivera and Thelma Johnson Streat, among other artists, working on San Francisco's Pan American Unity Mural up online thanks to San Francisco State's DIVA (Digital Information Virtual Archive) project. We can't embed it, but click on the link above or the screencap to go watch it.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Aelita Andre - The 4 Year Old Wonder Child

What were you doing at age 4? Dribbling paint on a piece of paper isn’t that far-fetched an answer, but what if those dribbles were on display at Agora Gallery in Manhattan and had collectors throwing down $24,000 for a single canvas? For Aelita Andre, a Melbourne native, this isn’t just a dream—it’s a reality. Art critiques from around the world have called Aelita “Pee Wee Picasso” and “Jackson Pollock Reborn.” Those are large shoes to fill, especially for someone still under 3 feet tall. Some viewers claim that her artistic merits are being exaggerated just to create a point and that her works are truly nothing more than an expensive showcase of kindergarten gibberish. But are we not the same artistic community who applauded Marcel Duchamp when he put a urinal on display as art and encouraged Damien Hirst in all of his bizarre endeavors? If we are willing to accept Kazimir Malevich and Suprematism as art, then how can we honestly disregard Aelita’s work simply because of her age? No matter what side of the argument you stand on, there is one thing that we can all agree on: this little one will be an artist to look out for in the future.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Matt King, Continental Drift @ LDSoA

Having gotten a sneak peak yesterday during its installation, I can assure you that this show should not be missed. I met Matt King at this year’s CAA conference in NYC. After finding out he was having an exhibition at our own Lamar Dodd School of Art’s Gallery 307 this summer, I checked out his website ( and was immediately impressed with his work. Matt is Assistant Professor of Art Foundation and Sculpture + Extended Media at Virginia Commonwealth University. In his artist statement, he posed the question “might sculpture establish an alternative encounter with the same objects and images, to destabilize what is familiar and create an experience that is similarly abundant and strange?” From what I’ve seen, the answer is a resounding “yes,” and I would add that it can be visually and intellectually engaging while doing so. Matt has also been gracious enough to donate one of his works to the museum, the three-dimensional print “Take a Number,” an edition he made to give as gifts to people who helped him in his career.

Matt King
Take a Number, 2010
Screenprint and laser on paper

Thursday, June 09, 2011

Blast from the Past

If any of y'all remember the adorable Victoria Slaboda, who was one of our very first two Young Dawgs at GMOA, she is back in the building working at Ike & Jane under the stairs, cheerfully handing out doughnuts and making Americanos with what looks like ease.

The Singing A.T.M.

Diddy once said, “the more money we come across, the more problems we see,” but this time we have to disagree with the hip-hop mogul. Across the pond in Venice, Italy, the artist duo Allora & Calzadilla have come up with something quite extraordinary: an A.T.M. pipe organ. Once visitors plug in their PINs, they are sung a unique tune and dispensed their money. Even those who return never hear the same tune twice. This functional art piece has become such a hit that lines form outside the pavilion in which it is installed. Reportedly, 100,000 euros were withdrawn in the first three days alone! That is nearly four times the normal activity of an A.T.M. in Italy.

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Rent out GMOA!

Photo courtesy of the Georgia Center

You can do more than peruse works of art at the Georgia Museum of Art. The museum is also one of the top rental facilities in the area. Whether you’re planning a wedding, a conference or some other signature event, check out GMOA’s website to browse our rental brochure and learn about our special offers and rental packages.

Also take a moment to click through these photos (recently taken at a cocktail reception and seated dinner hosted by the Georgia Center) to see how amazing our space can look!

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Charles Pinckney - Stories in Jewelry

“My work in metal is a form of oral history, where memories from my life come alive in my designs.”

Featured in the current issue of Ornament magazine is Georgia native, Charles Pinckney. Designating Pinckney as just a jeweler would be putting it lightly. As a self-taught artist, he is known for his storytelling and for embedding in his jewelry the “non-tangible essence of emotional and personal human connections.” Each piece is unique and evokes stories from his southern childhood. His studio now resides in the old Clarke County Jail, which was built in 1876, and as Ashley Callahan (author of the article and former curator of decorative arts at GMOA) puts it, “Pinckney welcomes visitors to this retreat with an open heart and a ready hug.” His designs are remarkably personal, and commissioned work is known to bring tears to patrons’ eyes. This intimate connection to his work is what Pinckney is known for.

Pinckney has been awarded two grants from the Georgia Council for the Arts and a grant from Tula Foundation Gallery; he has also been showcased on HGTV as well as in Southern Living magazine. Last summer, artists had the rare opportunity to take a workshop from Pinckney in various studios up and down the East Coast.

Disegno install

Just as he did for "All Creatures Great and Small," preparator Larry Forte has made a video of the installation of "The Art of Disegno: Italian Prints and Drawings from the Georgia Museum of Art," which is on view at GMOA through Aug. 7. Enjoy!

Monday, June 06, 2011

A Park with a View

Have you ever walked down railroad tracks because it was a faster route to where you were going or because you wanted the excitement of looking down on other roads, cars and pedestrians? Of course you haven’t, because it’s actually illegal if trains still use the tracks. Fortunately for us, a community-run non-profit in Manhattan has given pedestrians a simple and aesthetically pleasing solution to this legal problem: The High Line.

Friends of the High Line is a community-run, non-profit organization.

In 1934, a high line for trains opened above the streets of Manhattan from the Meat Packing District to West Chelsea to Hell’s Kitchen, because so many deaths were occurring from car-train accidents and pedestrian-train ones on the street level. Raising the trains was a great solution and helped 10th avenue lose its nickname “Death Avenue.” Soon after the line was built, however, the rise of interstate trucking as a means of transportation led to a drop in rail traffic, and the high line was abandoned and left to decay. You can see pictures of the historic line here. In the mid-1980s many property owners lobbied for its demolition, but a large community outcry halted their efforts. The community agreed that something needed to be done with the structure, but what could they do that would allow them to keep and improve the line?

The old train high line running through West Chelsea.

In 1999, a group of New Yorkers founded Friends of the High Line and worked together to figure out a way to turn this dilapidated structure into something useful and community-oriented. Thus, the High Line Project was born. Today, the first phase of the new High Line is complete and is intended for pedestrians, tourists, and city-lovers of all ages. The High Line has become a walkway above the city with observation decks, benches, food carts, gardens, miniature water parks, and even galleries for local artists. You can watch a video of the entire design plan for the High Line here (The High Line Design Video 2008). Everything about the High Line is meant to “reinforce New York City, and in particular, the neighborhood around the High Line, as a vital cultural center.” The City of New York is in full support (even financially) of this environmentally friendly project and so are we. We love the idea of a green, pedestrian-centered art space running through Manhattan as well as repurposing something old in the sake of art. There are also many ways to get involved with the High Line. Construction and upkeep is ongoing. Check out the High Line Youth Corps on their blog! If you’re traveling to New York this summer, don’t miss this exciting and inventive addition. The second phase will be open June 8.

The new and improved High Line is enjoyed by pedestrians, New Yorkers and tourists year-round

"Herb and Dorothy"

Join us next Thursday, June 16 from 7 – 9 p.m. for a viewing of the film "Herb and Dorothy."

"Herb and Dorothy" (2008) tells the extraordinary story of Herbert Vogel, a postal clerk, and Dorothy Vogel, a librarian, who managed to build of the the most important contemporary art collections in history with very modest means. Directed by the first-time filmmaker Megumi Sasaki, the film received the Golden Starfish Award for the Best Documentary Film and Audience Award from the 2008 Hamptons International Film Festival. (English, 89 minutes).

Sponsored by the UGA Parents & Families Association.

The Art of Disegno: Italian Prints and Drawings from the Georgia Museum of Art

May 14, 2011 – August 07, 2011

Boone and George-Ann Knox I, Rachel Cosby Conway, Alfred Heber Holbrook and Charles B. Presley Family Galleries

This selection of 53 works on paper produced in the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries by such renowned artists as Giovanni Battista Piranesi and Parmigianino draws largely from the collection of Giuliano Ceseri, on long-term loan to the Georgia Museum of Art. Guest curators Robert Randolf Coleman and Babette Bohn chose prints and drawings that demonstrate the importance of disegno, or drawing, as an essential skill for artists of the period. As paper became more widely available, drawing was used as a preparatory stage for more finished works of art and prints enabled artists to disseminate their work more widely. A full-color companion catalogue is available in the Museum Shop.

This week, we encourage you to join us for one of the two docent-led tours of this exhibition. All tours meet in the museum lobby and are free and open to the public.

Tour at Two: The Art of Disegno

Wednesday, June 8

2 – 3 p.m.

Spotlight Tour: The Art of Disegno

Sunday, June 12

3 – 4 p.m.

Lets Play The Quiet Game - Stillspotting NYC

New York City—a place of peace and tranquility. If you raised an eyebrow at that opinion, you are not alone. New York is typically known for its fast pace, and the stresses that come with attempting to be “ahead of the game” in a crowd that is already there. Hordes of people shuffle in and out of therapy appointments as a way to find some relief in the chaos of the Big Apple.

In reaction to this seemingly overstimulated lifestyle, the Guggenheim Museum has instituted a two-year program called “stillspotting nyc.” Under the leadership of Pedro Reyes, the museum temporarily transforms unused spaces and turns them into “Sanatoriums.” These oases guide visitors through specialized relaxation games and team-building exercises. Individual sessions are also offered and include exercises to help you calm down and regain a sense of peace. Some of the activities are a little bizarre, like GooDoo, in which the participants channel their negative energy into dolls, but the feedback from visitors is overwhelmingly positive.

To schedule your own visit to the Sanatorium, take a look [here]

GACAA Pictures

The Georgia Assembly of Community Arts Agencies (GACAA) held its annual conference at GMOA May 1-3, and we were pleased as punch to host them. Above are some images from the events GACAA held at the museum, including many that show folks dressed as characters from "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland."