Amuse-bouche: Our Lady of Sweet Delight

12 Mar

Amuse-bouche ( an elegant French phrase literally meaning “to amuse the mouth,” typically describing a small, singular hors d’oeuvre.

Here, the term is appropriated for a little morsel of artistic delight to start the week. Enjoy.

Some people see mystical visions in things like toast or the froth of a cappuccino. Others take a more direct route, such as the maker of this icon in a window at the Milwaukee School of Art and Design. The luminous figure is composed of the decidedly postmodern material of Gummi Bears.

Our Lady of Sweet Delight!

Amuse-bouche: Lonely at the top?

20 Feb

Amuse-bouche ( an elegant French phrase literally meaning “to amuse the mouth,” typically describing a small, singular hors d’oeuvre.

Here, the term is appropriated for a little morsel of artistic delight to start the week. Enjoy.

A mysterious woman in a Victorian back alley?

No, it’s editor-in-chief of American Vogue, Anna Wintour, at the New York Public Library before the recent showing of Victoria Beckham’s collection during Fashion Week.

Photograph: Timothy A. Clary/AFP/Getty Images

Amuse-bouche: The art of protest

30 Jan

Amuse-bouche ( an elegant French phrase literally meaning “to amuse the mouth,” typically describing a small, singular hors d’oeuvre.

Here, the term is appropriated for a little morsel of artistic delight to start the week. Enjoy.

Protests continue internationally, including recently in Pamplona, Spain. A sculpture by August Rodin became an evocative part of the public outcry against austerity measures, bearing a banner that reads, “We are stopped but not quiet.” 

AP Photo/Alvaro Barrientos.

CoPA exhibition at WPCA: an anthology of vision

20 Jan

Left: Melody Carranza, “CLINIC DAY AM”; Right: Tara Bogart, “”un oiseau … Paris” birds in cages.”

Images courtesy WPCA.

The CoPA 5th Annual Midwest Juried Exhibition is like a anthology of au courant  photographic practices in the Midwest. Juror and gallerist Catherine Edelman (Catherine Edelman Gallery, Chicago), sifted through over 450 entries, slimming down the exhibition to a sharp collection of just over 40 pieces by 30 artists from Wisconsin, Illinois, and Minnesota. The subjects run the gamut from bucolic-tinged-with-the-bizarre rural scenery, industrial architecture that stands on a par with the sublime, pictures shot with the eyes of a voyeur, and photographs that slip into an identity akin to a painting.

Edelman’s choice for best in show was Sarah Stonefoot’s Ladies in Red (1800 Ladybugs), a lighthearted play of scale and surprise. A minuscule ceramic dog stands on alert, looking attentively at a brocade pattern on the wall. The wall decor is made up of ladybugs, a detail only apparent after close viewing. There is something funny in these frozen figures, the hundreds of unmoving and intensely organized bugs, and the sculptural dog. I can nearly hear his tiny bark. A lively sense of fun is also found in other works such as Tara Bogart’s “birds in cages,” as the little twittering things hang out in their French pied-à-terres like a row of colorful sprites in an apartment block.

Sharp contrasts between man and nature, industry and organics, charge Eddee Daniels’ Grain Elevator with quiet drama. Smooth concrete structures undulate as framework of rusting tracks creates a visual base for wide columns. A worker sits below, reading. Sinewy red vines signal the refusal of nature to be obliterated in the face of concrete and industry. The form is beautiful and strangely alien among the rigid materials and lines of the manmade world, the products of human knowledge. Neither man nor nature can be denied.

Pictures investigating the corners of daily life, here and abroad, are well-represented.  Moodier works abound as well — images of dusky attics, lonely windswept landscapes, and views of distant grainy windows. What lies beneath? What is the longer, larger story? Supplementing the images in the gallery space are quotes from the artists. One of these statements speaks strongly to the phenomenon of photography and how it is distinct from normal, quotidian vision:

“The images are remnants. To be made, they reject the standard way in which we travel through the public sphere and the social standards that restrict us from gazing into the bedroom windows of strangers.” ~Ryan Lowry.

This exhibition ends this weekend, and this evening’s Gallery Night will mark the closing reception, and the final voting for the viewer’s choice award.

Walker’s Point Center for the Arts is located at 839 S. 5th Street, Milwaukee.

The Gallery Night reception will be held on Friday, Jan. 20 from 5-9pm.

The exhibition closes at 5pm on Saturday, Jan. 21.

For more, see the video of the opening reception remarks by juror Catherine Edelman, who speaks from her perspective as a gallery owner and curator.

Amuse-bouche: American art in New York

16 Jan

Amuse-bouche ( an elegant French phrase literally meaning “to amuse the mouth,” typically describing a small, singular hors d’oeuvre.

Here, the term is appropriated for a little morsel of artistic delight to start the week. Enjoy.

A visitor at the Met looks at John Singer Sargent’s Madame X (Madame Pierre Gautreau), 1883-84.

The American art galleries at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York are freshly reinstalled. Enjoy a fantastic desktop tour through the article and interactive features in today’s New York Times.

For more on this painting and why it was oh so very scandalous, see English art critic Jonathan Jones’ “Madame XXX” in The Guardian.

Weekend Art Date Jan. 13-15, 2012

13 Jan

Weekend Art Date links:

Dominion Gallery, 804 E. Wright St. 414-581-0978.

Painted//Curated by Tyson Reeder at Green Gallery East:

Giotto’s Eye’s at Portrait Society:


Light up the Garden at the Lynden Sculpture Garden:

EyeSpy: news, articles, events, and more

10 Jan

By Kat Murrell 

National props for Milwaukee Urban Renewal exhibition

Milwaukee is home to some extraordinary programs and individuals when it comes to innovative urban and environmental initiatives. Urban historian Michael Carriere and sociology Ph.D. student David Schalliol organized the exhibition, “Working Legacies: The Death and (After) Life of Post-Industrial Milwaukee,” currently on view at the MSOE’s Grohmann Museum, and received national press through a recent interview.

Emma Mustich. “Visions of post-industrial Milwaukee.” January 7, 2012.

The Politics of Art  

Above: a fantastic photo from today’s New York Times. New Hampshire voter Gail Gagnon emerges from a booth.

Photo by Brendan Hoffman for the New York Times.

Also in today’s Times, James Estrin interviews veteran campaign photographer Jim Wilson, who talks about the changes in cameras, technology, and pressing deadlines during his decades covering politics via pictures.

James Estrin. “Photographing politics in changing times.” January 10, 2012.

Fair use, copyright, and the creative arts

Legislation known as SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act) is working its way through Congress, and could have ramifications concerning copyright infringement laws.

Martha Lufkin, “Online piracy bill has free speech supporters up in arms.” The Art Newspaper. December 30, 2011.

According to, there are other alternatives under consideration from the United States Copyright Office.

Julia Halperin. “Is it about to get much easier for artists to bring copyright-infringement lawsuits?” ArtInfo International Edition. January 9, 2012.’s Emma Mustich investigates the questions of appropriation bordering on plagiarism, or outright invading that verboten territory. A variety of experts weigh in from legal, artistic, and psychological perspectives.

Emma Mustich. “Salon debate: What is plagiarism?” January 10, 2012.

As if they didn’t have enough trouble already…

Reuters reports three pictures were stolen during the early hours of Monday from Greece’s National Gallery of Art in Athens. In less than seven minutes, two paintings by Picasso and Mondrian, and a drawing by Italian artist Guglielmo Caccia, were taken from the museum.

Reuters. “Picasso, Mondrian paintings stolen from Greek gallery.” January 9, 2012.

Art History — History! It’s reputable

In light of statistics that seem to cast arts and humanities majors as doomed to dead-end careers and a life spent on the parental dole, Virginia Postrel writes incisively in support of humanities studies. She counters the notion that college is merely a training ground to grind out minions for the corporate workplace. Thank you, Ms. Postrel!

Virginia Postrel. “How art history majors power the economy.” January 6, 2012.

On a much lighter note, here’s some “super fun” 

Need to unwind a bit from news and stress? Or in search of another nifty distraction? declares that the Tate Modern’s new iPhone game called “Race Against Time” is “actually super fun.” What makes it especially appealing to art aficionados are the “striped-shirt-wearing Picassos, flaming absinthe bottles, deadly Dan Flavin light sculptures, and a giant Joseph Beuys figure strung up in a parachute and cradling a hare.”

Yes! I haven’t played it yet, but I know what I’m doing this afternoon…

Kyle Chayka. “The Tate’s new iPhone art history game is actually super fun.” January 9, 2012.’s-new-iphone-game-lets-players-jump-through-modern-art-history


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