Who is Peter Lik?
It irks him a little that you have to ask. Because by one measure — money — Mr. Lik may well be the most successful fine-art photographer who ever lived. He has sold $440 million worth of prints, according to his chief financial officer, in 15 galleries in the United States that he owns and that sell his work. The images are mostly panoramic shots of trees, sky, lakes, deserts and blue water in supersaturated colors. Generally speaking, his buyers are not people who acquire the art of Andreas Gursky and Cindy Sherman.
THINK AND RINK: Near downtown Las Vegas, where some mid-century homes are converted for commercial use, there was a Friday night contemporary art connection with different vibes. The MFA Fine Art Auction at MCQ Fine Art wore a dignified air of gallery chat and wine to encourage silent bidding at the annual fundraising. Down the street was "ROLL," a Contemporary Arts Center pop-up exhibition that was a 1970s-era ruckus of art and PBRs responding to regional roller rink culture (and the first curated show by arts reporter Kristen Peterson). Throughout the night art locals were seen going clockwise, then counterclockwise, between the two venues.
OSCAR SEASON: Like last year, Los Angeles street artist Plastic Jesus piggybacked on Oscar hoopla to send an anti-drug message. His life-sized Oscar statue on hands and knees snorting coke on Hollywood Boulevard in the days leading up to the Academy Awards was fiberglass commentary on show business party culture. It had so much coverage, the artist had a wave of inquiries from PR firms begging to take him on as a client I CNN and many more.
R.I.P. Raul Rodriguez: He was 71 and known for being the most awarded designer of over 500 floats for the Tournament of Roses Parade, his first as a contest winner in 1960 as a high school student. He also designed the brash pink neon facade of the Flamingo Hotel in Las Vegas and the 22-story clown that front’s the Circus Circus hotel and casino in Reno. “Mr. Rodriguez was classically trained in drawing and painting, but when it came to pageantry he might just as well have been inspired by Oscar Wilde’s credo that nothing succeeds like excess,” wrote The New York Times.
TRIBE: In Phoenix , Arizona, Dwayne Manuel is a recent UA MFA grad and a member of the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community, one of the four federally recognized O’odham tribes. Manuel's art has been getting attention for the way it brings together “ traditional imagery with more contemporary ideas.” You can see graffiti influences reinterpreting the weave from O’odham baskets in a Nike line called Desert Journey. Tucson I Arizona Daily Star
WATER AND LIGHT: Scottsdale Arizona is making good use of water, light, and art with Canal Convergence. Randy Walker writes about his part of the project that dictates "our selection of color and work intuitively, paying close attention to the way the colors interacted with each other once in the sunlight. It would be an orchestrated process of managing materials, people, and time." His Canal Convergence installation is titled Spring Crossing:
FEAR OF BILLBOARDS: Daniel R. Small's New Mexico installation on billboards curated by LAND, mentioned at the previous INK AND LINK, have made locals skittish. The indecipherable glyphs were accused of being the work of terrorists or Satanic messages. More at Hyperallergic.
BIG TICKET ITEM: On a few days in May, the Roden Crater, the unfinished land art by James Turrell, will be the destination for “serious patrons of the arts,” according to an invitation reported by ArtNews. The cost is a $5,000 donation to Turrell’s nonprofit organization that supports the project. Details on other big fees at ArtNews.
PRIMITIVE PEEK-A-BOO: Archaeologists discovered a 1,250-year-old mural in the ancient city of Xultun, near Guatemala. The painting has an attendant behind a king, possibly to hold up his headdress. Besides finding a new evidence of civilization, scholars are also excited to see an early version of 'a photobomb.' Live Science.
BUSY STREETS IN ARIZONA: Phoenix New Times' covers their street art well and recently wrote about "The Painted Desert" by Rebecca Green that "features a bevy of brightly colored critters from javelina to desert tortoise." She's an artist who often returns to the area to paint. So does El Mac, who in January collaborated with Pablo Luna, and Mando Rascón for a piece that was almost cancelled because it was "too ethnic."
PETER LIK: “I’m the world’s most famous photographer, most sought-after photographer, most awarded photographer,” said the Las Vegas photographer in a long Sunday New York Times article. His “Phantom," an image of a swirl of dust lit by focused sun in an Arizona canyon, is the one purchased for record $6.5 million.
The profile is in the business section.
Some random links curated for being related to the Western desert as a muse to visual culture, unless selected for just being interesting.
© KTLA5, Tribune Company. All rights reserved.
Newsman Stan Chambers passed away at the age of 91. He retired in 2010 after 63 years with KTLA Los Angeles and credited for being the talking head for the first on-air live broadcast, an long vigil for three-year-old Kathy Fiscus falling in a well. Another early assignments was reporting on A-bomb testing in Nevada. Via an interview posted on YouTube Chambers described how station manager Klaus Landsberg managed an unauthorized broadcast. “We couldn’t get near the field, because it was all top secret. Klaus sent a crew to Las Vegas and put them on top of one of the hotels." Chambers said. "They kept the camera open for the flash of light that would come on when the blast went off.” When high ratings proved how popular the testing was (even casinos used it as a tourist draw) broadcasts were allowed. KTLA handled the first live, national feed of a Nevada a-bomb explosion in 1952.
Chambers on-air news persona may have also started the trend of television broadcasters adding authenticity to Sci-Fi films. He portrayed "TV Announcer" in "War of the Colossal Beast."
Paddy Bedford Gija. Born c.1922. Died 2007. Merrmerrji, 2004 Natural earth pigments and synthetic binder on composition board31 1/2 x 39 3/8 in. (80 x 100 cm) © Paddy Bedford estate, courtesy William Mora Galleries.
Nine Aboriginal elders referred to ancestral spirits to convert visual traditions into contemporary artworks. "No Boundaries Aboriginal Australian Contemporary Abstract Painting" runs through May 3, 2015. Nevada Art Museum I Art Newspaper + Art Net + Reno Gazette
Also at NAM, a site-specific installation inspired by geologic formations of Black Rock Desert including "painted form with a jagged line dividing it into two, alluding to the fence under construction which separates the United States and Mexico." Consuelo Jimenez Underwood Mothers -- The Art of Seeing
Drawings Sumi ink on paper I rair.org
Painter Sarah Gamble came out of The Roswell Residency in Roswell, New Mexico, with "on to depictions of human-like entities which seemed encased in bondage or magical glitter. These eventually turned into portrait like weirdos. A new painting just posted on Instagram by the artist seems to take another turn for the bizarre. It encapsulates a very realistic style with a nod to nature’s primal instinct." Some of her works from her residency are in “Your Life Is Happening Now,” at Moore College Of Art and Design in Philadelphia until March 14, 2015. The works on paper "documents her day to day existence at Roswell." I Beautiful Decay
Artist Ed Ruscha left a fake rock somewhere in the Mojave desert. After a ten years French artist Pierre Bismuth is still looking for it. I The Guardian
“Artists should avoid uses of existing copyrighted material that do not generate new artistic meaning, being aware that a change of medium, without more, may not meet this standard" is the bottom line, according to the College Art Association release of “Code of Best Practices in Fair Use.” The guidelines also apply to scholars, instructors, curators, and editors whose work may involve using others’ artworks I Hyperallergic.
Lakwena Maciver's "Paradise" series on paper. Acrylic, 24kt gold leaf on museum archival acid free paper, 2014, 22in x 30in
After a global search, London-based text-based muralist Lakwena Maciver was awarded a wall for Life is Beautiful. She returns to the west for a solo show in Los Angeles, “I Remember Paradise,” on view at Papillion Art through March 15. The show had a solid review by Christopher Knight at LAT.
The aesthetic of portraiture is the point of departure to explores the representational power of photography from its origins in the nineteenth century to its digital forms in the present, so says the Palm Springs Museum. Personalties: Fantasy and Identity in Photography and New Media runs through May 3. Ai Weiwei's Circle of Animals/Zodiac Heads: Gold is a work about "freedom of imagination and the persistence of ideas." Through May 15. PLUS: It's Modernism Week in Palm Springs.
Ward 7D by Morag Myerscough via Design Boom
Clark County had a call for artists to paint a odd hallway in a building offering children's services. If an artist found this there may have been some inspiration in a proposal. TheRoyal London Children’s Hospital officially opened in March 2012, and since then worked with Vital Arts to liven up the walls, like the work by Designer Morag Myerscough using hand-painted words and patterns.this commission, a design inspired by 2008 visit to Delhi. I Design Boom
AzCentral on the "7 priciest of Tempe public art."
Violence has made the Tijuana tourist trade a dying industry and subject of one piece in Rosario Martínez and Roberto Vega exhibition of works from their Lapiztola exhibition, "Democracia Real Ya!," at Rich Mix in east London.
Tijuana developed on the back of such trade and, when the visitors noticed that some of the donkeys they’d posed with for photos were too pale to show up well on film, enterprising locals obliged them by painting their animals to resemble crisply photogenic zebras.
Chapter #7: "Daniel R. Small, Pending Cipher for the Open Present" in Las Cruces, NM
Billboard across the US, and desert, are getting notice. It's the Los Angeles Nomadic Division's "Manifest Destiny Billboard Project." Southern New Mexico are "stumbling upon a series of puzzling billboards along highways and fear they be warnings in hieroglyphics." writes the Las Cruces Sun-News. The artist-produced billboards are along Interstate 10 from Jacksonville, Fla. to Los Angeles I LAND and The Manifest Destiny Billboard Project
“…[M]y 50 years of art writing have often been motivated by a desire to escape the art world. I’m … pleased that the award is for art writing and not art criticism, a term I’ve always kind of disliked, since most of what I know about art I learned from artists, and artists from pretty diverse backgrounds, and ‘critic’ sounds awfully antagonistic. Art writing is an odd profession. I suspect many of us thought we were on our way somewhere else–journalism, poetry, or fiction in my case.” - Lucy Lippard, upon receiving The College Art Association’s Distinguished Lifetime Achievement Award for Writing on Art I ArtNews
No Snow Here (2014) Coffee mug on steps of PTD HQ on New Year's Eve.
Here's one more round of links before 2014 exits in a freeze:
First Friday will be an indoor event due to weather.
There’s a pseudo Banksy at NewYork-NewYork I PtD
An abandoned mural at the Plaza is an artifact from the 1980s I PtD
Las Vegans love that blue angel. Can it be a way to raise money for art?
(And Blackbird Studios will have ornaments for sale on Preview Thursday and First Friday).
Trifecta Gallery’s final opening reception is January 1 I Vegas Seven
PK Russ reviewed at LA Weekly. Closing reception is January 2.
Shot of Russ skyping holiday greetings back home.
Public Art Workshop for artists being held in January.
Murals are telling the story of the Historic Westside.
LA Art Show to feature panels about murals.
Arizona murals from 1950 are endangered.
More photos of tagging by moss, not paint.
Mr Brainwash is a real estate developer.
HuffPo looks at Brooklyn Street Art to find “The Most Influential Acts Of Street Art Around The World This Year”
Warhol Foundation grants Northern Nevada.
And congratulations to the new round of art bloggers selected by The Creative Capital | Warhol Foundation Arts Writers Grant Program: Kate Palmer Albers, Project K: Photography and Art in the Age of Social Media (Los Angeles, CA); Christopher Howard, In Terms Of (Brooklyn, NY); Silvia Kolbowski, Another platform for art (New York, NY); Lee Rosenbaum, CultureGrrl (Fort Lee, NJ) and Daniel Temkin, esoteric.codes (Astoria, NY)
Happy New Year to all.
Seven Magic Mountains
Art Production Fund
Nevada Museum of Art