Win Win 5 at NIAD Art Center

It’s that time of year again. Every Spring I try to make a new work for the NIAD’s annual benefit. This helps me experiment with new materials which often spawns ideas for upcoming series. Here I created ‘Evil’, a painted, wired word piece. The wire is gripped and screwed beneath a layer of concrete on a wood frame.

In June, I will be having a small solo show at NIAD. I’m thinking of calling it Medieval Modern. A modern rehashing and manupulation of all things medieval.

Spain. Art Spying in Madrid & Zaragoza part 1 of 3

The one thing you will learn from traveling in Madrid is that there are no modern sky scrapers within the downtown area, like Paris, it maintains it’s old european properties which makes Madrid even more attractive, at least to people visiting like myself. The public transportation is ace and you can easily navigate your way around. The system is incredibly clean and quite proper. It’s a perfect way to move and people watch. At the time I arrived in October of 2015, US and Spanish currency were about 15 cents apart, pretty much equal. This bode well for me as the cost of living is much cheaper in Spain. One can purchase a bucket of five 10 ounce bottles of beer for 4 euros or $7 at the pub or kabab joint. I’m more of a whiskey guy, but you will never find that kind of deal here in the US. I also splurged on an amazing 5 course seafood lunch with bottle of wine, $55 euro for two in central downtown Madrid. Think about it, Spain is surrounded by the Mediterranean and Atlantic oceans. You get a variety of seafood and this is a plus for Pescatereans. Food in Madrid, it’s markets and restaurants are incredibly tasty. Especially in Zaragoza, where you can eat up on a bar stool and toss your trash on the ground inside the restaurant and somebody will sweep up after you. Winning!

During my stay, I was set up by my old friend and college roommate from San Francisco, Jorge Cortes, an American from Montebello, east Los Angeles. After leaving San Francisco, Jorge moved to New York to finish graduate school at NYU, and there met his wife Rebecca who was originally from Zaragoza, Spain. After graduating and the birth of there first born, they moved to Madrid and currently reside in Barrio Del Pilar, a suburb about a half-hour train ride from downtown. Jorge and Rebe were informative guides which left me excited to go explore their new hometown. What I did notice on Madrid freeway walls exclusively were miles of graffiti name tags, big titles, but not very good styles. The fonts felt dated like some 80’s amateur threw down, as if these were places to practice. I give the city high marks for cleanliness, there are trash cans with ash trays on almost every corner. Another surprise to me was the socialist aspects of governing. Spain’s citizens seem to be the priority in this country, great social services, heavily family oriented and community based organization. Corporate marketing isn’t as loud as it is here in the states. Although unemployment is high, but falling in numbers, I personally did not see many homeless or beggars at all. I could have counted them all on one hand. There’s a lot to like about this place.

Let’s Talk Museums

Madrid seems to be an unspoken gem when it comes to the arts. I was able to infiltrate 3 of the countries most adored visual treasures, the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Museo Nacional Del Prado and Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum. Museums can set you back around 7-20 Euro or $10-$25 dollars US depending on special exhibits. All three museums are located in central and is referred to as the Golden Triangle of Art.

REINA SOFIA


PRADO

The Prado Museo carries true master pieces of historic art. In this place my friends are the works of a life-time spent painting. Painting for everyone, for Kings, Politicians, mostly God figures…life throughout the ages. My favorite being Rubens and Jan Brueghel the Elder. There collaborations were seamless styles and grand-view images of space (example view Sight). A number of these paintings weren’t very large at all either. Many of the works around 20″ inches wide and 16″ inches tall with immaculate framing. You would have to see it in first person to experience the richness of color and detail through layers of paint. The internet just does not justify seeing the real thing in this case and so many others. The experience is ten fold when you face great art, trust me. During this trip I also found a great appreciation for Goya, which you can read about later when I visited the Museo De Goya in Zaragoza, Spain.

Images are NOT allowed at Museo Del Prado, but because I am cunning and persisitent regardless if I get caught I always manage to escape with some spy imagery. PRETENDING TO TEXT is a good method for sneaky pics. The other I use is “Lock-n-Load”, having the camera on and live in your back pocket. The latter is much more get it quick shots high noon style and results may vary depending on how much time you have to snap the image.

Find out more at Prado Museum

 


 

 

THYSSEN

During my visit the was the exposition, “Vogue like a painting”, 70 great art and fashion photos from Vogue magazine. This show features some of the elite of fashion photography. They were all very cinematic imagery that were inspired by paintings and mimicked fine art masters collected in the archives of Vogue. The other highlight at the Thyssen was Edvard Munch Arquetipos exhibition. A very dark and interesting walk with the artist, his quotes and his paintings depicting various events he witnessed.

 


 

EDVARD MUNCH

No imagery was allowed.


 

THYSSEN COLLECTION

Modern and Post-Modern Art. Learn More about Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum

Whitney Museum (New York)

While tripping to NYC, I was able to make it over to the new Whitney Museum in Chelsea. I’ve been to a few biennials in the past and am looking forward to attend future exhibits in this new structure. You can purchase tickets online and set a date.

Find out more about the new Whitney Museum.

Richard Ankrom: THE CURIO SHOP & William Powhida: Seditions @ Charlie James Gallery (Los Angeles)

I first saw the work of Richard Ankrom, if I can remember correctly, was at Art Mrkt Fair at the Concourse in San Francisco. I believe it was their first one before heading to Fort Mason Center. He had these “fetish figurines”, basically thrift store type sculptures with black leather resin coated masks. I then saw a short documentary on his performance art of fabricating and installing freeway signs in Los Angeles, Guerrilla Public Service, but at the time I didn’t realize it was the same artist. The vast differences between these two works has caused me to be a bigger fan. At “The Curio Shop”, Ankrom changes the full first floor of Charlie James Gallery into his own quirky fetish shop or lair if you prefer.

Below deck, William Powhida’s Seditions, bathed me some painstaking and high  anxiety word art. I loved his renderings.

Photography by Micke Tong

Noah Purifoy’s Desert Museum (Joshua Tree, CA)

It was a beautiful and hot sunny day out in the desert searching for the Desert Museum. If you want to witness dedication to art, then Noah Purifoy’s (1917-2004) assemblage work is a must see. His retrospective at LACMA was a glimpse of the what he has built out in Joshua Tree. I urge everyone to visit the Desert Museum and learn more about this artist that originated from Snow Hill, Alabama who has become a Los Angeles icon.

 

Photography by Micke Tong

Graphic Play: Purin Phanichphant

Purin Phanichphant’s art is fun. “Graphic Play” has a graphic designers aesthetic, odd in a good way, with intellectual properties. Graphic Play took place May 13, 2015 at Keystone Art Gallery, Los Angeles, California.

Photography by Micke Tong

 

LA PERGOLAS : Oliver Hess

If you’ve ever driven on US101 through downtown Los Angeles or walked above the overpass on West Aliso street, you couldn’t miss this spine like metal sculpture. Underneath the span are colorful LED lights that subtly light the night. One of the main brain child’s of this project is Oliver Hess. We have been friends and neighbors at Keystone Art Studios currently in Glassell Park. Oliver happens to be one of the most humble cerebral geniuses I know. He runs Aperiodic Industries, a company that engineers some of Oliver’s creative endeavors.

This day a few friends gathered to help him paint La Pergolas using laser cut magnetic stencils. We spray painted camouflage layers of grey and silver to add texture to the steel.  To read more about this project: http://aperiodic-industries.com/projects/la-pergolas-build/

 

DIVERGENCE

I love curating shows, I find it to be an art project or shall I say production in itself. With Divergence, I was fortunate to team up with Rebecca O’Leary for this exhibit featuring an international cast of female artists. The show took place at Keystone Art Gallery in Los Angeles, California.

Opening Reception Saturday, March 21, 2015  | 6—10pm.

Divergence is an exhibition of work by 8 contemporary female artists working in distinctly different mediums. Curated by Micke Tong and Rebecca O’Leary, Divergence spotlights artists who are working in an interdisciplinary manner, integrating unique methodologies or concepts into their artistic practice. The artwork exhibited is of varied styles and genres: conceptual art, abstract painting, ceramic sculpture, mixed media and photography, providing a widely spread artistic experience for the viewer.

In their practices, these artists have subtly but bravely emerged out of the veil of restrictions and limitations of traditional mediums and found their own path to making unique works of art.

Presenting Female Artists: Angela Baker, Brük Dunbar, Sacha Eckes, Laurie Frick, Kohl King, Jessica Miller, Kylea Borges and Kari Reardon.

Photography: Micke Tong

LACMA in November 2014

LACMA‘s Samurai show was such a visual treat.  The armor for these historic warriors were impeccably made with fine detail, so much so I can’t understand how they fought at all, one would think they would be admiring each others talented clad tailors. These outfits blow away everything you see on Tokyo Fashion or were these just the ancestors of accessory to what has become the mecca of street wear. Wonderfully curated, general public, you must go visit.

My journey also recorded the work of Archibald Motley’s “Jazz Age Modernist”, a New Orleans painter who harnessed the life 1920’s in various African American communities, including Chicago, Harlem and Paris. These painting were so vibrant and dramatically captured a moment during that era.  As I strolled through the show I noticed a group of young men, possibly in their late teens or early 20’s laughing and screaming, “Oh, this shit is racist, this shit is hella racist!”.  I don’t think the young man bothered to find out that Mr. Motley was in fact, African American.

 

Death By Fun

Part of a performance art video for my exhibit Death By Fun, which coincides with Keystone Art Space’s “Generate” group art show, live auction and open studios. Presented by Idol Wild.
Saturday, June 14, 2014.

I’ll be posting some pics of the show soon.

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