Government, Conspiracy and Art Converge at SMoCA In COVERT OPERATIONS

Ahmed Basiony, 30 Days of Running in the Place (still), 2010/2011. Two-channel color digital video installation with two-channel soundtrack; run time and dimensions variable. Footage from the 2010 performance of 30 Days of Running in the Place and the 2011 Tahrir Square protests, edited by Shady El Noshokaty. Courtesy of the Basiony Estate. © Basiony Estate

Ahmed Basiony, 30 Days of Running in the Place (still), 2010/2011. Two-channel color digital video installation with two-channel soundtrack; run time and dimensions variable. Footage from the 2010 performance of 30 Days of Running in the Place and the 2011 Tahrir Square protests, edited by Shady El Noshokaty. Courtesy of the Basiony Estate. © Basiony Estate

Jenny Holzer, Ribs, 2010. Eleven LED signs with blue, red and white diodes, text: US government documents, 58 1/4 x 5 1/4 x 5 3/4 inches each. Courtesy of the artist and Cheim & Read, New York. © 2010 Jenny Holzer, member Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo: Richard-Max Tremblay

Jenny Holzer, Ribs, 2010. Eleven LED signs with blue, red and white diodes, text: US government documents, 58 1/4 x 5 1/4 x 5 3/4 inches each. Courtesy of the artist and Cheim & Read, New York. © 2010 Jenny Holzer, member Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo: Richard-Max Tremblay

Trevor Paglen, Untitled (Reaper Drone), 2010. Chromogenic print, 48 x 60 inches. Courtesy the artist and Altman Siegel, San Francisco; Metro Pictures, New York; and Galerie Thomas Zander, Cologne. © Trevor Paglen

Trevor Paglen, Untitled (Reaper Drone), 2010. Chromogenic print, 48 x 60 inches. Courtesy the artist and Altman Siegel, San Francisco; Metro Pictures, New York; and Galerie Thomas Zander, Cologne. © Trevor Paglen

Covert Operations: Investigating the Known Unknowns, curated by Claire C. Carter, recently opened at Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art (SMoCA), occupying the museum’s four exhibition spaces with intense focus.  Encompassing digital media works, large scale photography and interactive installations, the exhibition questions what we know and what we think we know.

SMoCA writes: “Covert Operations: Investigating the Known Unknowns is the first major survey of a generation of artists working in the violent and uncertain decade following the 9/11 terrorist attacks to collect and reveal previously unreported or under-reported information. This group of international artists includes Ahmed Basiony, Thomas Demand, Hasan Elahi, Harun Farocki, Jenny Holzer, Trevor Paglen and Taryn Simon. They use legal procedures as well as traditional research methods and resources such as the Freedom of Information Act, government archives, field research and insider connections. The thirty-seven artworks included in Covert Operations employ the tools of democracy to bear witness to attacks on liberty and to embrace democratic ideals, open government and civil rights.

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Figure Drawing: An Essential Guide- A Free Class On Craftsy

Craftsy 1

Patricia Watwood

Patricia Watwood

Class Demonstration

Class Demonstration

Patricia Watwood

Patricia Watwood

It’s inarguable that making great art begins with a good foundation in the basics.  And when access to studying foundations in art is free and available anywhere by simply signing up on Craftsy for one of their free online mini classes, studying drawing foundations becomes delightfully accessible to all.

Craftsy offers a wide array of online classes from drawing essentials to watercolor.  Figure Drawing: An Essential Guide, taught by accomplished artist Patricia Watwood is one of the most popular classes. It’s the perfect way to try out Craftsy and experience the ease and convenience of taking a class from your home, at your desired pace. Watwood goes over the basics of rendering the figure with drawing materials in this free mini class. By guiding her students through stages, such as working with graphite pencils for sketching out simple angles, to moving into hatching for shading, drawing a figure becomes demystified.  Watwood, whose gorgeous paintings are featured here, has exhibited her work worldwide at galleries and museums and has been featured on the cover of art magazines.  Her understanding of drawing the figure is clear in her work and her ability to share it with her students is demonstrated in class drawings.

This online class is developed with live models, using classical techniques, making it a great fit for students at any level, from beginners to more advanced artists who simply want to brush up on basics. Convenient features such as being able to bookmark key moments, take video notes and re-watch concepts with the 30-second repeat feature make for a great student experience on Craftsy.  Figure Drawing: An Essential Guide is free, so there’s no reason not to explore and give it a try!

With 29 free mini classes to choose from, we say start with this one and stay and play for a while.  Follow this link for your First Free Mini Class With Craftsy.

This post is sponsored by Craftsy

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How A T-shirt By OMOCAT Made Us Question Sex And Controversy In Art

Omocat Shota Shirt

Omocat Shota Shirt

Omocat comic 1

Omocat comic 2

What’s in a word?  That’s what the prolific and internationally known Asian-American artist Omocat has been faced with lately.  In the midst of her recent “shota” t-shirt release (pictured here), the artist’s intentions have in instances been taken widely out of context.  Embraced by Japanese fans that understand the context, some others have used it as a brutal platform for Western backlash.  In this instance something got lost in translation between hemispheres, and it is increasingly important that we explore the context and origin of the Japanese word shota and, above all, what this illustrates about western views on sexuality and gender.

Omocat’s continuum of work includes illustration, comic-books, clothing and merch with her designs.  Her imagery and content is often based on shota (which loosely translates to mean “pretty boy”) or loli (an expansive style and sometimes fetish originating in Nabakov’s Lolita). All of these artistic expressions stem from Otaku, an umbrella term for the Japanese manga-centric subculture that also informs the work of artist Takashi Murakami.   It is important to note that Omocat is quite vocal and literal within the work on her feelings towards social justice and self-empowerment in gender and sexual identity, with a strong personal stance against bullying.  This is illustrated fully in her comic “Pretty Boy,” featured here.   Omocat is even working on a collaborative artistic effort against bullying set to launch later this fall.

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Remi Rough’s Geometric Abstractions Opens At Soze Gallery

Remi Rough Photo Credit: Stamp

Remi Rough Photo Credit: Stamp

photo 9

SOZE Gallery New Location in West Hollywood

SOZE Gallery New Location in West Hollywood

Remi Rough

Remi Rough

Remi Rough has been incredibly active in the past few years marking the globe repeatedly with his juicy geometric art on huge urban buildings, other unlikely structures and in numerous galleries and museums.  The prolific international artist returns to SOZE Gallery in Los Angeles July 19th to open his latest installment of work in his solo exhibit “Remi Rough: Further Adventures in Abstraction.”  This exhibit, featuring a mother-load of over fifty new works on canvas, wood and paper, continue the evolution of Rough’s aesthetic, adapted from the mammoth swallowing scale on the streets to intimate smaller works in juicy vibrant palettes.  The crisp clean lines and darting yet fluid sense of movement in these works create a tension in their depth, while maintaining a minimal pristine quality in their draftsmanship.

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Geometric Prism: Dalek And Four Other Artists Paint The Rainbow

Dalek (James Marshall)

Dalek (James Marshall)

Maya Hayuk

Maya Hayuk

Richard Colman

Richard Colman

Amanda Airs

Amanda Airs

Like most people, when I was a kid I loved playing with a kaleidoscope. Pointing it at different light sources and twisting the chamber caused a morphing geometric mandala to take shape before my eyes, magically shifting sunshine and the colored bits inside into a series of hypnotizing designs.  The same part of me that was enamored with a kaleidoscope is the same part of me that loves juicy colored highly geometric contemporary art.

As the highly influential artist and color theorist of the Bauhaus, Josef Albers, says so succinctly in his classic book Interaction of Color, “As with tones in music, so with color- dissonance is as desirable as its opposite, consonance.” The dance of tension and fluidity in an ever changing kaleidoscopic pattern is a rhythm of light and hue, which there is an abundance of in contemporary art.  There are so many artists out there these days who use these components in their visual art, however the five artists included here emerge with unique strength, vision and technical ability that is worth noting.  Artists include: Dalek (James Marshall), Maya Hayuk, Richard Colman, Amanda Airs and Jeff Depner

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Corrosive Beauty: Colin Chillag And Three Other Artists Deconstruct Portraiture

Colin Chillag

Colin Chillag

Karim Hamid

Karim Hamid

Borondo

Borondo

Celebrated artist Alberto Giacometti once said, “The object of art is not to reproduce reality, but to create a reality of the same intensity.” Giacometti was an artist noted for his abstraction and deconstruction of the human form, which he depicted through a multitude of sculptures, paintings and drawings in elongated shape and scumbled lines.  Figurative paintings and portraiture are nothing new, yet subgenres of portraiture continue to emerge, survive and move us.  The common phrase “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder” aptly applies, and the activation of perception, observation and process are represented in beautiful and intricate ways in the four contemporary artists whose work is featured here.  Featured artists include: Karim Hamid, Colin Chillag, Borondo and Angela Fraleigh.

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Tiny Masterpiece: Joseph Martinez And Three Artists Make Art In Matchbooks

Joseph Martinez

Joseph Martinez

Mike Bell

Mike Bell

Jason D'Aquino

Jason D’Aquino

We are a society mesmerized by extremes.  In our fascination with art this generally translates into obsession with magnitude, scale and sheer quantity, while our consumption tendencies of technological objects tends to swing the opposite, manifesting in compact phones-computers-everything else in one hand held device.  The works featured here are as mind blowing as the compactness of current computer software programs, packing so much detail into such tiny confines. All of the works here are created on standard matchbooks, with the painted or drawn imagery measuring in at no more than four inches of length on any given piece.  Joseph Martinez, Mike Bell, Jason D’Aquino and Krista Charles all demonstrate immense technical skill in their matchbook art.

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John Baldessari And Five Other Artists Use Lists In Art

John Baldessari

John Baldessari

Mel Bochner

Mel Bochner

Erica Baum

Erica Baum

The end of 2013 is just around the corner and we are in the mode of individually and collectively reflecting back on the past year and looking towards the coming year.  The List is one of the ways we do this and the practice of making lists is in full force right now.  Lists like 50 Best Albums of 2013, Top Five Artists To Watch In 2014, Highest Paid Actors/Actresses Of The Year, the classic new years resolutions lists, and so on, are everywhere.  We are obsessed with lists.  And as I personally began compiling categorical articles that are essentially lists in their own right on Beautiful Decay in 2013, covering topics like 8 Heavy Metal Artists and 6 Artists Who Work With Trash, I felt it only appropriate to finish the year with a list based article covering artists who have used the format of the list in their artworks.

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