What can I do, when I believe?
What can I be, when I believe?
When I open my arms
and spread out my wings
towards all that I can achieve
                    ...............See what I can be
Lyrics Copyright © Achievements, Inc

Art Musings...

posted Jan 13, 2015, 7:12 PM by Deanna L.   [ updated Jan 21, 2015, 3:05 PM ]

Ed Bereal on Art, Politics and...Satire

Recently I had the pleasure of attending artist Ed Bereal's lecture at Western Washington University.  In light of the Charlie Hebdo massacres in Paris, his talk featuring slides of his own satirical and politically driven art was most apropos.  The satirical cartoonists once again raised the question of the boundaries of free speech--it cost them their lives.  Tracing his art from his earliest illustrations through the Vietnam War as a "War Baby" as well as the Watts Riots was a discussion teeming with Mr. Bereal's hindsight observations of the tensions of that era.  About having his political awakening of sorts in the midst of the racial and political upheaval of the '60s he waxed most eloquent.  After all, having a 50-caliber rifle aimed at you by a National guardsmen in front of your L.A. home would bring anyone to a point of deep reflection--and gratitude for having escaped the debacle.  

Upsetting the powers that be with racial stereotypes and using the American flag as a tablecloth while munching on watermelon, was only the beginning for this provocative artist from L.A.  He's developed a life long career of challenging the status quo to great effect.  With the sharp eye of an illustrator Ed renders subject matter magnificently.  With brilliant wit and propensity for the comical he has the audacity to question the intentions of national policies and the leaders who administer them.    As the subject of his art Bereal takes jabs at presidents, secretaries of state and yes, racist cops.  He draws particular attention to the never-ending fear-mongering induced by government and corporate lust for the globe's oil supply.   Raises some eyebrows, gets you thinking and, yes, on the edge of your seat.  Now the viewer is challenged to question their own conditioning in a so-called post racial society--their role in this culture of entitlement however passive. During the 60's he was lucky to get through it alive since his blatant critique and examination of U.S. policies  would have been far more dangerous than today.  

The class was exposed to magazine covers showing the streets of LA burning as well as the military presence in the city during the Watts Riots and saw how that experience later shaped Ed Bereal's art.  Because as he backed away from the oblivion of art world at the time, Ed realized that his goal was to make art that "addressed [his] actual circumstances not [his] acquired circumstances."  What seemed the privilege of the art scene was incongruous to the crises of the time enough for him to question what was real and who he was in the midst of it all.  He re-emerges from that era with a voracious appetite for socio-political inspiration and a desire to create a body of work that has becomes part of his "righteous" legacy as an artist.  A close up view of his latest art reveals the racist underpinnings of society.  America's ill fascination with guns, violence and the pursuit of resources throughout the globe are other prevalent themes is his work.  And as he traveled to places like war-torn Kosovo and IRA prisons in Ireland he sees another brand of the hatred he grew up with stateside and how far people are willing to go with that sentiment: how dark it can really get.  

So as the young eager faces in attendance listened intently one question posed was to what degree satire is culturally specific?  How do make your audience "get it?"  Or is the point lost altogether for those outside the culture of the satire of the artist?  And how did this relate to the cartoonist at Charlie Hebdo?  How are these very liberties of the freedom of speech taken for granted and are we distracted as they are taken away by government--with the excuse that terror lurks in every corner?  Ed Bereal questions will a texting generation be oblivious when policies change beneath their noses.  In doing so he references Neil Postman's book "Amusing Ourselves to Death:  Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business."  A real relevant takeaway for these times.

For more information on Ed Bereal's art visit: 
(to be published in February)


posted Nov 14, 2014, 4:48 PM by Unknown user   [ updated Nov 14, 2014, 4:55 PM ]

 Conversations: Native Arts Today 
Norman G. Jackson, Tlingit

“Native peoples are sentient beings responding to life’s challenges and victories,” says artist and Fairhaven College professor Tanis S’eiltin.  She questions the label '"traditional" as applied to Native American art.  I recall a similar discussion regarding Laguna Pueblo weaving that was once practiced by men, unlike the Navajo weavers of the Southwest.  Now that the art is made primarily by women can the term "traditional be applied?  How do tribal traditions impact the work of the artist and how does the contemporary creative impulse thrive in the midst of that tradition?  Well this is a teaser of the dialogue that will be shared on November 14, when a panel of Native artists and curators will meet at the Whatcom Museum for a panel discussion open to the public.  

"Our art is constantly changing, as are our social, cultural and political environments. Evolution of art styles, traditional and contemporary, are driven by many factors; shifting economies, social media, tourist industry, collectors, curators, scholars and cultural trends.  In addition, art produced in urban settings differs from the art produced in rural communities. And so it is difficult to use the terms ‘traditional’ and ‘contemporary’, or ‘Northwest Coast,’ ‘Alaska Native Art,’ ‘Native Art,’ etc. Just as difficult is the task to define how it has evolved.” the Tlingit printmaker and installation artist says in a conversation with Amy Kepferle of Cascadia Weekly.

Among the panel participants Seattle Art Museum’s Native American art curator Barbara Brotherton, Haida weaver Lisa Telford, Stonington Gallery’s Becky Blanchard, and Theresa Parker, a renowned basket weaver and educational curator for the Makah Cultural and Research Center.  The goal is to increase public understanding of Native artists as individual creative forces: to reach beyond the pigeon hole.  This is essential when artists from the diaspora feel that their art is lumped into one generic group devoid of a theme as S’eiltin recognizes this occurrence as the norm...

“In addition, I would be excited about exhibitions that represent ethnically diverse artists, be that white artists as well as indigenous artists. A specific theme that brings artists from a wide range of places, whose work represents contrasting ideas, would be very informative and provocative. This would also work to challenge a longstanding practice in the art world that tends to ghettoize the Native artist. In converse, I feel there needs to be more support for solo exhibitions throughout the nation.”

This panel discussion coincides with a Native Arts Celebration and Native Arts Market that features demonstrations by participating artists who will be selling their works of art.  With a phenomenal history of turning out monumental creations with some of the boldest motifs in the art world this is a must attend event  I foresee an art Market that grows to be on par with the Indian Market that takes place in Santa Fe annually.  Hopefully there will be room for that idea tonight...

For more information on the event and the work of Native Artists check the following links.


posted Oct 30, 2014, 11:29 AM by Unknown user   [ updated Nov 14, 2014, 3:42 PM ]

Fall Arts Preview: Top 10 Museum Exhibitions

  • Chris OfiliRecalling the response Chris Ofili received from then Mayor Guiliani and Catholic church leaders for his painting in the Sensation exhibition at the Brooklyn Museum--nice to see Ofili continues to blow minds with his bold imagery.  Little did they know the referential symbolism of the ball of dung in his native Nigeria...To think they actually tried to remove his painting from the wall of the museum and Guiliani threatened to cut funding to the museum because of Ofili's African depiction of the Madonna and Child. Yet he's still standing!
    It’s tempting to see the fall exhibition season as a clash of titans, with each museum battling for the most visitors and highest gross. But the thing is, there’s a host of wonderful, challenging and charming shows coming to New York’s institutes of fine arts. Walking from the Robert Gober retrospective to a giant show of Matisse cut-outs, at MoMA simultaneously, will be a visceral thrill. And the Frick gets first dibs on a blockbuster: masterpieces from the Scottish National Gallery, a show that’s set to travel across the country. Plus, troublemaker Chris Ofili is taking over the New Museum. What a season! http://observer.com/2014/09/fall-arts-preview-top-10-museum-exhibitions/


posted Dec 10, 2013, 7:12 PM by Unknown user   [ updated Oct 26, 2014, 8:16 PM ]

Developing a sustainable living may require urban agriculture

Oct 24, 2014 by Thijs Westerbeek
Developing a sustainable living may require urban agriculture

Imagine living in an inner city and buying your vegetables and fruit just moments after they've been harvested. Imagine waking up to the rustic sound of a cock crowing. Imagine your household waste and sewage serving to grow even more food in a highly sustainable way. This is the promising picture painted by the EU-funded Supurbfood project.  

Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2014-10-sustainable-require-urban-agriculture.html#jCp


posted Oct 8, 2013, 7:18 PM by Deanna L.   [ updated Oct 26, 2014, 10:22 PM ]

With all the dread of ebola, and fear mongers abundant, it's time to celebrate something positive again!  Thankfully El Dia de Los Muertos is coming around again, and here comes San Francisco's amazing event--the best parade and sugar skulls ever!!! Sunday, November 2.

And if you're in NYC don't miss Mano a Mano's El Dia  that promises vibrant colorful festivities for families at St Mark's Church in the Bowery! October 31-November 3.

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