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The Butler
Discreet but eager, well-placed if not well-heeled, awash with syntax but void of irony, he attends to Matters Esthetica that abound in the House of Culture
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INTRODUCTION. Can a bed be a red herring? It can in Harold Pinter’s The Lover. House right, there’s a bed. A single bed. It’s there, but not really. On a small stage, it represents the bedroom. House left, the living room. Thing is, as the story develops, and you realize what’s going on, that bed, so full of possibility, literally and metaphorically, never gets used for the purpose for which the story’s title implies it... Continue reading
Posted May 21, 2018 at What the Butler Saw
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INTRODUCTION. Listening to John Valadez hold court at the studio in which he worked during his recent residency (review here) at Fine Art Solutions is like hanging out with someone who used to paint Renaissance Popes in his youth and now, mellow and philosophical, follows his own idiosyncratic pursuits. He’s led a full, active life, which shows no signs of slowing down. He still works in his home studio, where he continues to experiment and... Continue reading
Posted May 20, 2018 at What the Butler Saw
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My psyche was forever impacted by the conditions I grew up experiencing on the US/Mexico border in Laredo, Texas. Words like el norte, el otro lado, and la migra formed part of my everyday lexicon. I witnessed, firsthand, the separation of friends, family, and loved ones–while personally dealing with an internal identity crisis (or more commonly known as the Chicanx mantra, of “Ni de aquí, Ni de allá.” My experience on the border fueled my... Continue reading
Posted May 18, 2018 at What the Butler Saw
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INTRODUCTION. Google something and you can feel omniscient, like a god. You can feel the same way with gnarly pharmaceuticals, with or without the imprimatur of a religious practice. Finally, mental maladies can make you think that God speaks to you and you alone and that you must enforce anything that He commands. Anonymous 616, written and directed by Mike Boss, reminds us how these delusions of omniscience actually go way, way back. The film... Continue reading
Posted May 6, 2018 at What the Butler Saw
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INTRODUCTION. A few years after moving, a family has yet to unpack their stuff. This doesn’t suggest laziness as much as it represents emotional baggage. Each character in Deborah Zoe Laufer’s black comedy unpacks emotional baggage in their own peculiar way. WHAT'S IT ABOUT? 11th grader Rachel Stein’s (Tara Coffey) attitude towards life stems from events on 9/11. Her father, Arthur (Chris Bange), only just escaped from one of the Towers. Sixty-five of his financial... Continue reading
Posted May 4, 2018 at What the Butler Saw
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There will be time, there will be time/To prepare a face to meet the faces that you meet. The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock, by T.S. Eliot INTRODUCTION. With sweet, effective understatement, Teresita de la Torre’s installation, Hilando Relaciones, shows how social media devalues the verb, to share. (Art, of course, encourages it.) Picture this scenario. You learn something about yourself. Something profound, something anecdotal, just something. A building block of identity. You want... Continue reading
Posted Apr 30, 2018 at What the Butler Saw
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Plutôt la vie que ces prismes sans épaisseur même si les couleurs sont plus pures (Choose life instead of those prisms with no depth even if their colors are purer.) Andre Breton, Plutot la Vie, 1923 NOTE: Both shows include selections of the artist’s Flower Paintings and Miniatures work. This piece will focus on the Flower Paintings. INTRODUCTION. Roland Reiss’ Flower Paintings answer the question, How does one make paintings in a digitalized culture? They... Continue reading
Posted Apr 26, 2018 at What the Butler Saw
φ(゚ェ゚♡) …..φ(-ω-。`) …..φ(〃∇〃 )“φʕ•ᴥ•oʔ σ(ൈ)φ φ( ̄¬ ̄ヾ, "The Silent PLAY Exper... Continue reading
Posted Apr 19, 2018 at What the Butler Saw
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Genuine poetry can communicate before it is understood. T.S. Eliot INTRODUCTION. Having achieved a solid reputation as a purveyor of art presentation, Fine Art Solutions also awards artist residencies and then mounts exhibitions of the work produced. Such is the context of John Valadez’s Valadez in Vernon, an exhibition at East 26 Projects, a site located on the FAS compound. You can talk about the gritty industrial aesthetic of a museum like the Pompidou. As... Continue reading
Posted Apr 16, 2018 at What the Butler Saw
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POPPOSITIONS 2018 focuses on diagnosis, articulation, prescription, and, lest we forget, discovery. It feels more like a World’s Fair than an art fair. Niekolaas Johannes Lekkerkerk provides artistic direction. The show encourages a discussion between people with strongly held convictions about the state of the world and the role of art. It’s idealistic (what should be), pragmatic (what is), cautionary (man has made a mess of things…), and visionary (… but that doesn’t mean there... Continue reading
Posted Apr 15, 2018 at What the Butler Saw
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"Play is the highest form of research," attributed to Albert Einstein INTRODUCTION. Under normal circumstances, I would never paint a design on a stranger’s face, much less let her paint one on mine. I would never play charades. Do pantomime. Dance with abandon, sober, during the day. Singly; with someone else; or together with an entire room of strangers. I would never fill in sentence blanks on walls. Paint something based on a wall prompt.... Continue reading
Posted Apr 9, 2018 at What the Butler Saw
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Amanda Fruta is the Public Affairs and Communications Specialist at Cal State Long Beach's University Art Museum. She has a B.A. in Art History and Visual Arts from Occidental College. She knows a lot about art in general and about this exhibition in particular. She shares this knowledge without recourse to academic artspeak. She wants to create meaningful connections and partnerships, foster new discourse, and support a culture of access, equity, and public service. Her... Continue reading
Posted Apr 7, 2018 at What the Butler Saw
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INTRODUCTION. You can situate the book as a cross between Homer’s Odyssey and Thomas Pynchon. You can also think of it is as Charles Bukowski retelling the story of Theseus' escape from the Labyrinth. (“…her final record spinning closer to the center, like an invisible thread that gently draws him down to her, down to Karmann” (Italics, this writer). An extraordinary backstory, Theseus and the Minotaur. Read it here in Bullfinch’s Mythology. For our purposes,... Continue reading
Posted Apr 3, 2018 at What the Butler Saw
Proving that bigger is better but in ways you wouldn’t expect, Monica Wyatt makes monumental bronze sculptures seem intimate. She exploits the medium’s heroic tradition. Monumental, heroic, and ceremonial. She avails herself of the material’s association with historic and metaphysical themes. Think, for instance, of Auguste Rodin’s iconic “Burghers of Calais” and “The Thinker.” Bronze is permanent, if not timeless. It’s got physical and emotional heft. It creates space and then displaces it. Like a... Continue reading
Posted Mar 31, 2018 at What the Butler Saw
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INTRODUCTION. Directed by Ahmed Khan, “Baaghi 2” is a hot mess. This cinematic equal of a strobe light is just too much, too often for an otherwise so-so script. When Neha (Disha Patani) meets Ranveer Pratap Singh (Tiger Shroff), she notes his arrogant brashness. He’s loud, energetic, and passionate. This plays well when he’s in love (it makes him adorable). It also works when he helps her with a favor that becomes biblical in scale... Continue reading
Posted Mar 31, 2018 at What the Butler Saw
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A shipwreck on the ocean’s floor. An octopus’ garden. A surreal grotto. Such are the first impressions of Adrian Villar Rojas: The Theater of Disappearance at The Geffen Contemporary at MOCA (October 22, 2017 – May 13, 2018). Careful how you navigate the site-specific installation, a total makeover of the Geffen's exhibition space. A spacious room, unrecognizable from its original white box configuration. Except for a few lit display cases (see below), the lights are... Continue reading
Posted Mar 28, 2018 at What the Butler Saw
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Tato Akhalkasishvili was born in 1979, Tbilisi, Georgia. He graduated from Tbilisi Academy of Arts in 2003. Afterwards he moved to Germany where he lived and worked in Cologne. In 2008 the artist decided to go back to his country. Nowadays he is based in Tbilisi, Georgia. He works in painting, in addition to making objects, installations and collages. Akhalkasishvili expresses important issues and concepts with the help of different metaphors. Childhood is one of... Continue reading
Posted Mar 27, 2018 at What the Butler Saw
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(Jerusalem) is an oxymoron, chockfull of contradictions and schizophrenic realities, which we embrace in this seemingly blessed, but so easily deadly, potent formula of persistent animosity and violence. Jack Persekian, After Matson For the Middle East in general and Palestine in particular, 2018 is a landmark year. A hundred years ago, the Balfour Declaration and Jerusalem’s occupation by British forces. Fifty years ago, the Israeli occupation of East Jerusalem. Enter Jack Persekian, to remind us,... Continue reading
Posted Mar 26, 2018 at What the Butler Saw
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José Lerma was born in 1971 in Seville, Spain and grew up in Puerto Rico. He was recently named Chair of the Painting Department at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. His solo exhibitions include Kemper Museum of Art, Andrea Rosen Gallery, Galería Roberto Paradise, Galerie Xavier Hufkens, Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago, Green Gallery, Gallery Loock, Galería Marta Cervera, Contemporary Art Museum in Raleigh, NC, Arario Gallery in Seoul, Galleria Il... Continue reading
Posted Mar 25, 2018 at What the Butler Saw
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Iabadiou Piko (Piko Sugianto) was born in 1984 in Prabumulih, South Sumatera, Indonesia. In 2005, he graduated from the Academic Design of Vision Yogyakarta Department (ADV) with a major in Diploma of Art Photography Design. He is a self-taught painter who now lives and works in Yogyakarta. He participated in Art Dubai 2018’s inaugural Residents program. New to Art Dubai programming, Residents 2018 invited 11 international artists to spend 4 to 8 weeks in a... Continue reading
Posted Mar 25, 2018 at What the Butler Saw
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INTRODUCTION. I’ve always wondered why the story’s called Antigone and not Creon. Or at least why Creon’s not given equal billing in the title. Antigone must choose between death and the mourning and burial of a dead brother. She's the visceral one. Creon is the administrative one. He has to rule a kingdom, nepotism be damned. He’s not evil. He’s just put in the position of pushing the boundaries of decency that his law and... Continue reading
Posted Mar 24, 2018 at What the Butler Saw
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Art Dubai 2018 opens this week. It will showcase the work of 500 artists. It will also offer talks, performances, tours, and workshops. Programming includes: Contemporary and Modern. This will feature work from 105 galleries based in 48 countries. The inaugural Residents program. This will feature 11 global artists whose work reflects their experience in the UAE. The Global Art Forum. Titled “I Am Not A Robot”, it will discuss the impact that automation has... Continue reading
Posted Mar 19, 2018 at What the Butler Saw
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INTRODUCTION. When you hear intervention, you think something’s wrong and needs to be fixed. For Robert Irwin, that something was art; it needed to be hacked. Beginning as an abstract artist, Irwin questioned painting and found it wanting. In one of those eureka moments by which something seems to come from nothing, but which makes sense in retrospect, he turned to the environment as both his medium and his Muse. Thus was his site-specific work... Continue reading
Posted Feb 20, 2018 at What the Butler Saw
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INTRODUCTION. There’s a rhythm to the show, a vibe. It stays with you long after you leave the Museum. Makes sense, doesn’t it? The Caribbean – you think of West Side Story and reggae, merengue and bachata, mambo and calypso. Makes you want to dance through the galleries or at least lilt as you read aloud the wall panels and labels. This rhythm carries you through the tropical installation, through the thematic groupings - Conceptual... Continue reading
Posted Jan 29, 2018 at What the Butler Saw
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A butterfly is an apt metaphor for Eden’s Edge: Fifteen LA Artists, curated by Gary Garrels for the Hammer Museum: fluttery and vulnerable, the work is skittish and fragile; lovely to behold, with a trajectory that could only be described by string theory, it rewards close-up looks and far-away ganders; clustered on walls like butterflies massed on a tree, it’s ephemeral, process-oriented, and poised for flight. Too bad it doesn’t sting like a bee. Garrels... Continue reading
Posted Jan 23, 2018 at What the Butler Saw