Huntridge Center's Googie-inspired sign was introduced in September with a lighting party. Photo: PtD
Links to "Best Of" lists ends this edition of random observations from the field, or items noted from social media. Thanks for following along on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram in a most interesting 2016. Have a Happy New Year. Now, onward to 2017.
Ally Haynes-Hamblen will be ratified January 4 as the new director of the Office of Cultural Affairs for the City of Las Vegas. She was Director of Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts, earned her M.B.A. from Regis University and B.A. in theater from University of Denver. Cultural Affairs oversees the city's public art programming.
BACK TO NEON MUSEUM: Artsy visited the Neon Museum's collection and wrote "Indeed, the history of Vegas, and of the 20th century itself, can be felt across the Boneyard." It's a full read at "A Treasure Trove of Historic Neon Signs Is Nestled on Las Vegas Boulevard".
Riviera Boulevard was renamed Elvis Presley Blvd.
LOCAL: Mikayla Whitmore is one of 18 photographers picked to "Follow on Instagram Before the Apocalypse," according to Humble Arts Foundation, a non-profit committed to promoting and supporting new photography . . . Locked and Loaded: Whitmore is apocalypse-ready. "I already have my survival bag packed with Diet Coke and batteries," she says on Facebook.
Gold Butte petroglyph panel © Kurt Kuznicki
LAND MASS: President Barack Obama declared Gold Butte a national monument by using the Antiquities Act, as seen everywhere. Here is the Review-Journal's take. . . . Related Land Mass: This story opened with the headline "The artist and the senator: One built a desert masterpiece, the other a Nevada legacy". It's Sen. Harry Reid and Michael Heizer of course. . . . It goes on: "Both men discovered in Nevada what many outsiders miss. Far from seeing a nuclear wasteland, a dumping site or even a playground for gamblers, they drew inspiration from Nevada’s quiet beauty. Heizer created an American masterpiece — a mile-long complex of dirt, rock and cement rising from the desert floor like modern-day pyramids or the Mayan ruins of Chichen Itza." That from the LATimes.
SHORT WRITING BUT ITS SOMETHING: The Barrick shines in the "Best of Fine Art in 2016" from Las Vegas Weekly.
"Seven Magic Mountains" before opening day I © PaintThisDesert
TWO FROM NEVADA: Ugo Roondinone's "Seven Magic Mountains" brought to Southern Nevada by Art Production Fund and Nevada Museum of Art made DesignBoom's Top Ten Installations of 2016. "These mammoth cairns evoked the art of meditative rock balancing, as they negotiate the landscape between geological formations and abstract compositions," says DesignBoom . . . The art installations at Burning Man also made the list.
Detail of Chuck Close self-portrait mosaic. I Photo: Courtesy Metropolitan Transit Authority
MEANWHILE, IN NY: New Second Avenue subway stations are scheduled for a New Year’s Day opening, and has the "most ambitious contemporary art projects that the Metropolitan Transportation Authority has ever undertaken." . . . Long Art Ride: There has been art coming out M.T.A. Arts & Design since 1985, but this time trategy began during the planning stage, reports the NYTimes "If the effort doesn’t always result in stations that look like artworks themselves, as some of the best stations in Europe and Asia do, it has nonetheless put the aesthetic front and center again in a way that evokes the ambition of the city’s first subway stations in 1904, with their mosaics, faience and amethyst-glass skylights."
FLOATING ART WALK: Making a number of year-end lists is Christo and Jeanne-Claude "Floating Piers" seen on Lake Iseo, Italy, over the summer. Amah-Rose Abrams wrote, "In a year of tumult, the realization of 'Floating Piers' was a Utopian oasis. Not only the was project visually stunning, appearing as a blaze of orange set against the beauty of the Northern Italian lakes, but at a time when Europe was essentially dividing, it built a bridge." That from "Critics’ Picks: The Most Memorable Artworks of 2016" at ArtNet. . . . I MUST SAY The collage renderings themselves have their own mystique.
"The Floating Piers (Project for Lake Iseo, Italy)" Collage 2015 17 x 22" Pencil, wax crayon, enamel paint, photograph by Wolfgang Volz, technical data, fabric sample and tape Photo: André Grossman © 2015 Christo
TROUBLEMAKERS: Making a number of lists for best of 2016 was 'Paint the Revolution: Mexican Modernism, 1910–1950' at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, which among many things, is an insightful look at the paths political art had entering the realm of art in public space . . . To Quote: "This fascinating historical survey is filled with polemical art of the highest, and sometimes subtlest, order. And it usefully suggests some of the problems built into aestheticizing ideology. There are some fantastic artists here, but there are no saints," said the NYTimes. Also on this "The Best Art of 2016" list was “Robert Irwin: All the Rules Will Change”.
CONNECT THE DOTS: LA Weekly speaks with some of the LA Chicano artists who created "politically charged murals on the Eastside since the 1960s." . . . LA Local: The prompt for the story is "Give Me Life: Iconography and Identity in East L.A. Murals," by art historian Holly Barnet-Sanchez and independent scholar Tim Drescher.
Guerrilla Girls for "Guerrilla Girls Keep Fighting" Artsy The Year in Art. Photo by George Lange, courtesy of the Guerrilla Girls.
List of Lists
The Year in Art + The Top Emerging Artists of 2016 + 17 Emerging Artists to Watch in 2017, all from Artsy.
'The top 10 art museum exhibitions of 2016, plus the worst trend of the year' I Los Angeles Times
The Best Of Hong Kong's Burgeoning Street Art Movement I Cultural Trip
'6 Priceless Pieces of Art Accidentally Damaged in 2016' I Creators Project
'The 10 Best Art Books of 2016' I Vulture
'Looking back on the best art of 2016 as a psychic salve' Chicago Tribune
"The Most Read Articles of 2016' I ArtNews
'Sound Disposition: A Personal, Peculiar Top 10 of a Memorable Year in Art' I ArtNews
'The best American art of 2016' I The Guardian
'The Art World Naughty List of 2016' I ArtNet
'Over 250,000 Photographs from the George Eastman Museum Go Online' I Hyperallergic
THANK YOU TO PTD GUEST AUTHORS: Angela M. Brommel with "CAC and Blackbird: A welcome back and a goodbye"; Laura Henkel gave us a reflection and images from Burning Man, followed by Nancy Good's Burning Man Photo Essay; Professor Andre Lepage on Vincent Valdez and "The City". Professor Jim Daichendt had an "Art Basel Hangover"; Heather Lang says "This isn't about Bob Dylan"; D.K. Sole reflected on poet Sharon Olds and reviewed Mike Calway-Fagen "Banana Strings"; and PtD's first student guest post by Renatta Kusko, who was sassy about "Instagram Makeup".
TO END 2016: PtD quotes Sebastian Buck's "Street Art: Call to Action" from MEDIUM
In this turmoil (of 2016) the voice of artists becomes even more critical, and not just in the traditional confines of art—we need art to bring humanity and social commentary beyond galleries and traditional media to reach people where they are: moving about their daily lives. We need powerful, emotional, thought-provoking, empathy-inducing and action-inspiring art in the streets more than ever.
- Sebastian Buck
FIELD NOTES: The corner of South Leia Street and Kinobe Avenue became a roadside memorial when a small bouquet of white carnations were left on the sidewalk soon after Carrie Fisher passed away. The next day, her mother, Debbie Reynolds died after suffering a stroke. Reynolds' son, Todd Fisher, told Variety, "She wanted to be with Carrie." A photo surfaced with that has an eerie sentiment; a six-year old Carrie watches her mother perform on the stage of the Riveria.
The photographer Lawrence Schiller was tracked down by the NYTmes and asked about the moment he took the shot below:
Michael Ogilvie. December 23, 2016. Photo: Ed Fuentes
LAST CALL: Michael Ogilvie spent the last morning as Clark County’s public art specialist making calls to keep projects in progress move along without him. New ideas will have to wait. Then he stepped out for a quick lunch, but stopped in the lobby of Winchester Cultural Center when he saw the latest issue of Vegas Seven. His last day on the job saw "Centered," the public art programming he guided that took over county medians, be featured on the cover of the weekly. “Cool," Ogilvie said with a grin local artists know. He picked up a copy and headed out the door.
"Public art cultural specialist for Clark County heads to San Jose" I Review-Journal
"Mind the Medians" I Vegas Seven
"Exit interview with public art specialist Michael Ogilvie" I KNPR
"If Las Vegas wants to take its public art to the next level, it needs to keep the ingenious artists living here engaged and employed. This will grow the creative economy, and the larger the creative economy becomes, the greater its impact."
- Michael Ogilvie VIA KNPR
ABOVE: Luis Varela Rico