Thursday, April 29, 2010

Milwaukee Chamber Theater takes a swing at art

Dana Fielding is an artist. She is also crazy (disturbed and depressed is a more PC way of describing her condition.) Whether or not she’s delusional is another question the Milwaukee Chamber Theater’s current production puts to its audience. It’s title, “The Sweetest Swing in Baseball,” alludes to this and people who go to the show expecting something related to “Field of Dreams” or “The Natural” might be disappointed to find it’s about an artist (Fielding) who assumes the identity of Darrell Strawberry in order to…well, I’ll leave that detail for those who will go see the show. Then again, the more athletically inclined might enjoy the metaphors about being an artist that fly like balls from the bat of the famous slugger.

Thankfully, I’ve never spent time in a mental institution or tried to commit suicide, and hope never to sink so low. But, aside from such personal details, I found Dana Fielding’s artistic and psychological predicaments not only entertaining, but at times uncomfortably familiar. Are we mad who want to be artists? Can we speak truth through our art without being a bit disturbed? Or do we simply experience the world with such heightened sensitivity that we cannot help but be overwhelmed at times?

As Dana Fielding and the play’s audience discovers, art can be a trying vocation. Success is both elusive and hard to measure. At one point Fielding’s agent implores “I just want you to be happy!” Fielding snaps forcefully back “no you don’t!” and the audience is left to wonder if she can make art the establishment finds acceptable if she is not depressed. And of course, happiness doesn’t necessarily follow from success. This is powerfully demonstrated by the example of Strawberry’s meteoric baseball career, which flamed out quickly.

Art and "madness" - however the topic is described - has a long history. It's most famous case subject is Van Gogh, of course. A quick google search of the subject produced over 21 million hits. My wife, who attended the play with me and who is an art therapist, says it's a regular topic at conventions - not so much art therapy conventions, but psychiatric ones. Am I crazy to be an artist? I don't know, but one of my favorite lines from a Billy Joel song (You May be Right) goes "it just may be a lunatic you're looking for!" Oh, and "don't try to save me."

The Sweetest Swing in Baseball runs through May 2. More about it at the Chamber Theater.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Whitney Biennial: My favorite pick #1

Curtis Mann. After the Dust, Second View (Beirut) (2009).  Synthetic polymer varnish on bleached chromogenic print. 65x153 inches. This is the image provided on the Whitney website, which says it's a detail. Most of it is there, but it's cut off on the right side.

The bare bones description above fails to mention the painstaking processes involved in the creation of this monumental work. The reproduction also fails to convey not only the immense scale of the work, which is wall-sized, but the content of the image. Of course, this is why it is essential to view actual art works and not reproductions, which at best act as a visual reminder of the work one experiences in person.

I enjoyed much of the work in this year's biennial, and if I have time I shall share other examples. For now this one is my favorite.

Mann assembled this singular and powerful image from at least 80 smaller images taken in Beirut. Each image was manipulated not only with bleach, but by physically distorting the emulsion's surface. What remains is one of the best expressions of what I can only imagine the aftermath of an explosion in a public space must be like. The image has been obliterated, as the subject of the image seems to have been.

Links: Whitney Biennial, Curtis Mann

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Happy 10th Anniversary MARN!

There was a time in the U.S. when community happened because people lived in proximity to one another. In some cultures, this still is the case. But here and now we are less likely to find a supportive, cohesive community of like-minded folks in a single geographic location, like our neighborhoods, for instance. Community, as often as not, is the result of networking. Sometimes this happens online. In Milwaukee, for those of us in the creative arts, community assumed an identity ten years ago. That identity, of course, is MARN: the Milwaukee Artists Resource Network.

MARN celebrated its anniversary last night with a party that doubled as the crowning event of its first-ever fundraising Treasure Hunt. As a relative newcomer, I can’t comment on the last 10 years, but, hey, last night MARN threw a good party! Many of the artists who had contributed work for the Treasure Hunt were on hand and it was fun to meet some of them. (My one regret is not to have met them all!) It was great to see all the art together and realize the tremendous amount of work that went into this entire project. It was even better to see that some of the art was missing and therefore sold for the benefit of the organization.

The music provided a nice background, the food was delicious, and Shelby Keefe (pictured below) spent the whole time painting!

My thanks go out to Melissa Musante, the board of MARN, and the many volunteers who made this event possible and whose ongoing efforts continue to invigorate the community of artists in Milwaukee.

Why can't we make films like this in the US?

Like many foreign films, we didn't see it when it was released in 2009, but thank goodness for Netflix (in our case) where foreign films are more available than ever. We watched Revanche, from Austria, last night. I can't recommend it more highly for its balance of tension and layered subtlety. It's a thriller that moves in a kind of slow motion that builds almost imperceptibly in intensity. It's also filmed with an art house sensitivity to symbolism and a refined aesthetic rarely achieved in Hollywood (American Beauty comes to mind, but this is at once more subtle and suspenseful). Of course it did poorly at the box office in the US, but our favorite website for reviews,, backs us up. They give it a 95% approval rating, one of the highest I've seen.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

CoPA Show a Smorgasbord of Milwaukee Photography

Those who managed to find its out-of-the-way location on the 4th Floor of the Third Ward’s P.H. Dye Building (and the crush of visitors on gallery night proves that many did) found in the CoPA Show a veritable smorgasbord of photographic delights. For this its 5th annual show, CoPA (The Coalition of Photographic Arts) continues to defy the odds with an unjuried show for its large membership. Subject matter and style vary tremendously, but the show maintains a remarkable level of quality and a large following of admirers.
I, of course, am not a dispassionate observer, being a founding member and former board member of the still young, still evolving organization. I also have work of my own in the show.

I couldn’t possibly comment on all or most of the participants, who, in any case are represented by a mere sample of work, in most cases 3 to 5 pieces. A few with larger prints have only one or two on display, which admittedly begs the question of whether the show tries to be too inclusive and ends up frustrating visitors who want to see more of a particular photographer’s output. I for one think the format is serving its purpose. The gallery night crowd seems to agree. Thanks go to Geri Laehn and Jill Moore, who organized the show and the army of volunteers who helped put it together.

There are quite a few familiar favorites.
Coree Coppinger continues to amaze me with her Fight Club series. The images manage a wonderful balancing of formal abstraction and intense emotion.
William Mueller teases with his incredibly complex constructed metaphoric scenes. I’ve seen some of these before. Here he has presented them with a gold monochrome that enhances a macabre content that teeters on the brink of humor before a close inspection reveals how serious they really are.
Suzanne Garr takes us with her on a trip to Nepal, but leaves out the travelogue to focus on carefully observed moments of human interest.
Despite repeated exposure to the colorful distortions in Cardi Toellner’s studio abstractions, I still don’t know how she does it without resort to Photoshop!
Paul Matzner takes on Milwaukee’s Motif #1, the Calatrava wing of the Milwaukee Art Museum and handles it with a refreshing emphasis on the people who visit.
Bill Zuback creates an ambiguous dialogue between his enigmatic subject and us the viewers, leaving us to do the interpreting.
Mary Dumont manages to marry two seemingly contradictory realities, mounting her beautiful, almost archetypal landscapes on an aluminum surface that gives them an industrial sheen.
I am particularly drawn to Jessica Zalewski’s taut abstractions of ordinary landscapes and I find Nancy Aycock’s colorful and monumental cupcakes luscious enough to drool over.

In the delightful new surprises category:
Angela Morgan’s contribution is the three tiny, moody gems that can be found right at the top of her website.
I could not find Mark Johnson’s three entries on his website. They are all tied together by a tall, thin, mostly black composition. A minimal bit of different ephemeral subjects, an exit sign, the moon over water, a shadowy figure, emerges out of the inky depths.
In Africa Anil Warrier found young children as subjects and presents them as monumental and integrally connected with their colorful land.

There are more, but I must stop now!

I close with Susan Lukas’s delightful re-use of a classic technique, which struck me not only as visually and conceptually stirring but humorous. I like that.

Seen in the NY Times: Street Seen - Go Milwaukee!

Well deserved coverage of this excellent show, which closes tomorrow! Congratulations to the Milwaukee Art Museum and to Lisa Hofstetler, who curated it:

New York Times

Louis Faurer, from Street Seen

Thursday, April 22, 2010

MARN Treasure Hunt and Anniversary Party at West Side Art Walk

MARN Art Treasure Hunt

(Milwaukee Artists Resource Network)

A fun event that promotes art collecting and supports MARN. Full description below.

All events listed are free and open to the public!

West Side Art Walk
Friday, April 23 and Saturday, April 24

MARN 10-year Anniversary Party
Saturday, April 24, 4-8 pm
7605 W. Harwood Ave.

The party includes action painting by Shelby Keefe,
live Latin Jazz from Terrazzo,
FREE FOOD from some of Tosa's best restaurants,
Silent Auction:

Don't miss your chance to pick up a piece or two from Santiago Cuccullu,
and much more art by MARN members!

Win a Welding Party with Kendall Polster,
High Tea with Katie Musolff,
BBQ at Richard Taylor's studio,
private studio tour with kathryn e. martin followed by Wine and tastes at VIA,
private performance by The M.U.T.E.S.
And SOOOOO much more on the auction table!


MARN Art Treasure Hunt

Created specifically to make collectors out of every day Milwaukeeans this event features affordable works by top local artists and rewards participants with a chance at a grand prize.

Twenty-five MARN member artists each donated 25 works of art.

Each artwork is being offered for $25 to $75, prices well below market value. Anyone purchasing 4 pieces will be entered to win the grand prize - a two-night stay at the Grand Geneva Resort with Golf or Lift Tickets for two. By launching this event, MARN hopes to reach art lovers of all economic and educational backgrounds and show how collecting art can be an approachable way to support local artists.

The Treasure Hunt will take place during the West Side Art Walk venues on April 23rd & 24th. The event culminates with a reception from 4-8 pm on April 24th at 7605 W. Harwood Ave. in Wauwatosa. Artists contributing editions of 25 pieces; from photos, to etchings, block prints, paintings, and sculpture include:

Pamela Anderson, Ann Baer, David Barnett, Stef Bartz, Reggie Baylor, Emily Belknap, Fred Bell, Valorie Christell, Terrence Coffman, Dagmara Costello, Eddee Daniel, Raoul Deal, Tim Decker, Melissa Dorn Richards, Virgi Driscoll, Kari Garon, Todd Graveline, Gary John Gresl, Darlene Hagopian, Brooklyn Henke, Mutope Johnson, Frank Juarez, Thea Kovac, Steve Lubahn, Melissa Musante, Patricia Obletz, Ellen Pizer, Kerry Rose Ramsden, Suzanne Rosenblatt, Robert Smith, Jessie Spiess, Tori Tasch, Becky Tesch, and Stacey Williams-Ng.

The works are affordable because the artists donated their time and talent, and because over $6000 in art materials and printing support were donated by area businesses. The Treasure Hunt, in addition to inciting collecting, is also a fund raising event for MARN. Executive Director, Melissa Musante said, “We’re so grateful for the support of our artist members in launching this event. Plus all the other sponsors who have made it possible.”

Additionally, several artists have offered pieces for the silent auction. The auction will also include special “meet the artist experiences” ranging from a private wine tasting with an artist of note, to a special talk-back at the Chamber Theatre to coincide with their timely production of “The Sweetest Swing In Baseball”, to a welding party for 4 with sculptor Kendall Polster, and more.

MARN is a nonprofit art-service organization dedicated to enriching the community by supporting literary, performing and visual artists. MARN empowers artists with access to educational and professional resources and creates a network for communication and collaboration. MARN sponsors arts-related events involving other organizations and businesses, making the arts accessible to people in the community. MARN is able to present this event thanks in great part to the generosity of local business sponsors and members. All proceeds will go to benefit MARN’s continuing education and promotion of the arts in the Greater Milwaukee Area.

"Portal," from the Synecdoche Series
is my contribution to the treasure hunt and auction.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Nudes at MoMA: Why are we Surprised?

There has been a flurry of articles recently about the scandalous behavior of a few patrons of the Museum of Modern Art. (Sample: NY Times) It seems that some, even members of the museum, forget the near universal protocols about not touching the art. The art work in this instance is two live nude “performers.” Their performance is to stand still while patrons walk between them to enter the museum. And, occasionally, they get touched. (The FOX news headline uses the word “groped.”)

Of course this kind of thing makes good copy, but is it really any surprise? In fact, I suspect that the artist must expect this kind of transgression and that one reason for doing an art performance with live nudes is to provoke the audience. Much of Marina Abramović’s art, which has involved, among other things, self-mutilation, is much more provocative than this. In fact, I think it is ironic that, in the context of Abramović’s oeuvre, human nudes in a public space are pretty subtle and sedate.

My own personal reaction, I suppose, should be to feel cheated. I was in New York recently. I went to MoMA and I saw Abramović herself in the atrium gallery (picture below) performing her headline piece: “The Artist is Present.” But I did not see, nor know about, the two nude performers. I haven’t seen a single mention in any of the articles about this “scandalous” situation that the nudes are not situated at either of the main entrances and that most patrons can and do enter, as I did, without encountering them.

I did enjoy seeing “The Artist is Present.” I was clearly not alone in my reaction, for the performance space, delineated with tape, was constantly surrounded several ranks deep. More people watched from the various balconies and windows above. What we all watched was the artist sitting on a chair at a table. Like the nudes, she didn’t move. Unlike the nudes, this piece has an interactive component. When the chair opposite Abramović is unoccupied, the audience is invited to enter the space and sit there. Abramović does not react to this regular occurrence in any way. While I watched, the chair was never unoccupied for more than a few moments. Crowd pleasing minimalistic performance art. An interesting concept, no?

As for the nudes, when will our society get over its Puritan aversion to the human body? And what a hypocritical culture! Simple standing nudes are considered outrageous, while the overt sexual content that comes into our homes on TV is acceptable.

For more on “The Artist is Present” go to MoMA.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Kudos to Joe Hanreddy and the Milwaukee Rep

I hope you’ve already seen “Seven Keys to Slaughter Peak,” the hilarious comedy that closes the curtain on Joe Hanreddy’s 17-year stint at the helm of the Milwaukee Rep. There is a definite downside to having season tickets to the rep that are scheduled for the last day of each production. If I write about a play I’ve just seen, I can never encourage anyone to go see it!

Judging from the packed house last night though, plenty of people had gotten the word. I’ve been to all of this season’s plays and I haven’t seen such a full house. That’s tribute to the appropriateness of this play as a swan song. The script, originally by the powerhouse George M. Cohan, was freely adapted by Hanreddy not only to update its humor but to speak to his hometown audience. It worked brilliantly, with loads of subtle – as well as completely un-subtle – inside jokes about Wisconsin. It also showcased the talents of the resident acting company, who were spot on. By the time its twisted double (maybe there were three?) endings concluded I realized two important things: I for one (as well as my wife and the people we were with) had been completely taken for a ride and it was a delightful ride indeed.

I have been one of the anonymous audience members, off and on, for much of Hanreddy’s tenure. For what it’s worth, I add my salute to all the well-earned kudo’s he’s been receiving.

I wish there had been the same crowds at the rep’s last play, “The Seafarer,” which I thought was the best of the season and one of the best I’ve seen. In fact, in between that play and last night’s I had the opportunity to go to New York. While there I saw a play on Broadway (“A Behanding in Spokane” – feel free to ask about that!) The star of that show was truly a star: Christopher Walken. I enjoyed the show, and Walken lived up to his reputation. But, in my opinion, it doesn’t diminish Walken’s stature to say that I don’t think the Broadway theater experience was in any way superior to the Milwaukee theater experiences I feel privileged to have had. (It was certainly more expensive though!)

Milwaukee. Let’s appreciate what we have. Thanks, Joe Hanreddy and company!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Sam Hamill at Unity Temple

It is my great good fortune to know a poet named Charlie Rossiter who lives in Oak Park, IL and runs a monthly Coffeehouse at Unity Temple, the famous Frank Lloyd Wright landmark. The Coffeehouse features mostly but not exclusively poetry. (Next month's feature is a blues singer.) Last night I went down to hear Sam Hamill read and it was outstanding. Hamill is not a household name, but well known amongst poets. If his name is unfamiliar to you, I am happy to make the introduction. Among other distinctions, he founded Poets Against War. Here is one sample of what he read last night. (I got it from He dedicated it to his wife.

The Orchid Flower

by Sam Hamill

Just as I wonder
whether it's going to die,
the orchid blossoms

and I can't explain why it
moves my heart, why such pleasure

comes from one small bud
on a long spindly stem, one
blood red gold flower

opening at mid-summer,
tiny, perfect in its hour.

Even to a white-
haired craggy poet, it's
purely erotic,

pistil and stamen, pollen,
dew of the world, a spoonful

of earth, and water.
Erotic because there's death
at the heart of birth,

drama in those old sunrise
prisms in wet cedar boughs,

deepest mystery
in washing evening dishes
or teasing my wife,

who grows, yes, more beautiful
because one of us will die.

In addition to hearing Hamill's moving and provocative poetry, it is always a delight to visit Unity Temple, one of Wright's most important buildings. It never fails to impress me no matter how many times I go there. In addition to hosting the Coffeehouse on the third saturday of each month, Charlie has a wonderful website called PoetryPoetry where you can hear poets read their work.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Milwaukee's gallery night does not disappoint

After several hours of gallery hopping my friend Karen exclaimed that it was "exhilarating." I agree. The art varied considerably, as expected - as it should! But overall it did not disappoint. Creativity lives in Milwaukee!

Before I describe a few highlights, what did disappoint, now and then, was the result of gallery night's success: the mobs were so thick in places that we found ourselves squeezed into overtaxed elevators and following, single file, long lines of slow moving crowds down narrow flights of stairs and through hallways. Claustrophobia threatened to quelch the exhilaration. At times I found myself thinking that this is no way to see art. Then (about every ten feet it seemed) I would run into a friend or acquaintance and it would feel great again. (Last night was particularly rich in these experiences. In one evening I ran into, not only dozens of people I've known varying lengths of time, but a statistically remarkable number of the people I first met when I moved to Milwaukee over 30 years ago, some of whom I see infrequently at best.) Ya gotta love arts - and arts events - that bring people together!

I saw too much good art to comment on even a significant fraction. I'll be very selective and choose the highlights:

The stylized but highly expressive portraits of artists and writers by Carri Skoczek at the  Portrait Society Gallery were stunning. Several times during the evening I found myself coveting some work of art or another, but here the temptation was strongest. This piece of Frida Kahlo was up for silent auction, so I made a bid. (I didn't stay late enough to find out if I was overbid.) It wasn't my favorite piece, either. In fact, this ranked as the strongest, most cohesive body of work I saw all evening. It would be hard to pick a best from the lot. Fred Bell's diminutive paintings of similar subjects were also lovely, especially his endearing take on Emily Dickinson (which, unsurprisingly, had a red sticker next to it early in the evening.)

The other major highligh, as usual, was the MIAD senior thesis show. There were many strong portfolios in all of the varied disciplines taught at the school. We got there late and couldn't see it all. A few personal favorites from my random wanderings:

Just inside the front door I was immediately drawn to Anna Maund's bold photographic portraits of cabbages that emerge out of inky blackness and then to Mary Sievert's illustrations. Upstairs, Sara Patzke's sensitive and evocative bone drawings reminded me of the less refined renderings of the same subject I did when I was her age. Jillian Duckwitz managed to convey what I imagine the chaos of an insect's perspective could be by layering silkscreen prints onto sheets of plexiglas. Beata Krezalek created a powerful statement with her floor to ceiling installation of mostly drawings depicting tangled nude bodies. The lyrical line drawings were strongly punctuated by a sculptural component of hanging fabric sacks that could be taken for a flowing cave formation, but which in context look more like a grotesque collection of human scrota. A strong contingent of young photographers included Maggie Salvine, with collages of landscapes in urban park settings (which anyone who knows my work might recognize as appealing to my interest in "urban wilderness"); Theresa'Beth Whitfield's compelling images of ordinary interiors with scratched narratives suggesting impending violence that used slashed surfaces to express in no uncertain terms the outcome of the narratives; and Justin Bacon's delightful series that transports us from a traditional religious setting in a church interior to a sublime spiritual awakening in a jungle setting awash with light.

But my (ArtsWithoutBorders!) vote for best of show is unequivocal: Sarah Omen turned her artwork into a plea and, more important, a practical interactive project, for the audience to engage in productive change to help the environment. She calls it Project E.A.R.T.H.: Environmental Activism Reaching Toward Humanity. Her exhibit of colorful mixed media collages gradually disappeared from the wall as the audience traded a commitment to do something good for the earth in exchange for one of her pieces. Signed commitment cards replaced the work on the walls, mine among them.

Art that makes a difference is something I can live with.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Milwaukee gallery night: my picks

from Terrible Beauties, by Rebecca Schoeneker

Here is at least a partial list of galleries I hope to visit this evening for Milwaukee's spring gallery night. There's a lot going on including many shows that involve one or more of my friends. It's not going to be easy to get to them all!

(Unfortunately, I for one can't do the gallery day thing tomorrow because I'll be out cleaning rivers for the annual Earth Day river clean up sponsored by Milwaukee Riverkeeper. Arts without borders, life without borders, metaphors without borders: one does have to draw a line sometimes!)

Sonja Thomsen at Dean Jensen.
In the Balance at Walker's Pt Center for the Arts. (WPCA has moved! Check the link for the address.)
Terrible Beauties at Redline.
Big Star at the Portrait Society.
Taking it to the Streets at Light Ideas Gallery.
Sweeping The Pool of Light by the Parachute Project. Check the link for details.
I always try to make it to MIAD for the senior thesis exhibitions.
And artswithoutborders would be remiss not to include the younger generation's creative output: Student work facilitated by Troy Freund's artis-in-residency at Story School.

Of course I will have to show up at the annual CoPA show, not only because of the vast range of work that will be on display in one place, but because I have four pieces of my own there.

Then there's the MARN Treasure Hunt. Too complicated to explain. Check out the facebook page at Treasure Hunt. This would take all night and more to do it justice. Fortunately, there is more time. This event continues next weekend at the West Side Art Walk. More on that later.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

St. Louis beats Milwaukee in public art

Untitled by Martin Puryear

at the City Garden, St. Louis

Having lived in Milwaukee for a long time, I've seen too many instances of public art that is either ridiculed or rejected. And so it was a pleasure to visit St. Louis where, in a short few days, I discovered a trove of public art. Two troves in particular: a large suburban sculpture park (Laumeier) and a three block long stretch of the downtown central mall called the City Garden. I had the great fortune to visit each several times.

Both are free and open to the public. Both include sculptures that range from figurative to abstract, complex to minimal.

I would have been delighted with the art in any case. What struck me most about my visits, however, was that so many other people were there spending time with the sculptures. I'm so used to being the only person paying any attention to public sculpture, but while I was there I never saw either place deserted. People clearly enjoyed not only the public space but the art. Many had cell phones and serious cameras out, taking shots of their friends and family in front of (sometimes inside) the sculptures.

At the City Garden the usual strictures against touching the art are more relaxed (there are warnings about safety rather than prohibitions) and it was wonderful to see children climbing the di Suvero as well as Tom Claassen's more predictably approachable white rabbits.

Kids enjoyed climbing inside the monumental head of "Eros Bound" by Igor Mitoraj and looking out through the eyes. They also splashed through the gently cascading water in front of it. At the City Garden in St. Louis I found a public space for public art that the public enjoys!

What's wrong with Milwaukee? Why couldn't we take a block or two of the still vacant Park East Freeway and create our own sculpture park? Maybe right next to the Bradley Center, where there are plenty of visitors; or as an extension of the Riverwalk.
Although the St. Louis region is larger, the city of Milwaukee is almost twice the size of St. Louis in population. There's more to that story--too much for one post.

Eros Bound, Igor Mitoraj
at the City Garden, St. Louis

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Barbara Rose speaks about Omega Suites at Haggerty Museum of Art

Photo by Lucinda Devlin

Last night Barbara Rose, a prominent art critic, gave a talk at Marquette University in Milwaukee about the exhibit called Omega Suites by Lucinda Devlin. The exhibit is on display at the Haggerty Museum of Art. This is one of the pieces in the exhibit.

I think it is an excellent body of work and a lovely exhibit.

Rose gave a nice overview of Devlin's previous work and a brief intro to her next series. She also provided examples of other works of art to give Devlin's some cultural and historical context. Overall I'd give the talk a thumbs up.

However, in my opinion, Rose's worthwhile examination of the Omega Suites and Devlin's oeuvre was nearly overshadowed by an offhand comment she made early on. She said that "photojournalism is not art." During the public question and answer period that followed Rose was queried by several people in the audience about this comment. She not only held her opinion, but dug in her heels and reiterated it emphatically.

There is no doubt that the intentions of photojournalism are different than those of a fine art photographer like Devlin, who makes no claim to be a photojournalist. There is also no doubt in my mind that the practice of photojournalism takes place under completely different circumstances than fine art photography and their respective values reflect the circumstances.

However, it is disingenuous, I feel, to make the global claim that photojournalism is not art.

It is a fortunate coincidence that I attended this lecture and heard this comment at the moment of my inaugural post on this new blog. Arts Without Borders will be my effort to comment on my experiences and gleanings from the world of arts, letters, sciences, and, well, the world in general. I don't see such a clear distinction between art and photojournalism, to use the current example.

If photojournalists are doing their job, they are not trying to make art as would Lucinda Devlin or Andy Warhol (to use another artist mentioned in the lecture). But it is fairly easy to point to examples of photography that were originally done for journalistic purposes that are now considered masterpieces and collected as works of art. Indeed, Street Seen, the current show at the Milwaukee Art Museum includes such examples as Robert Capa's famous scenes from DDay.

Art exists on a continuum of creative endeavors. Categorical statements like "photojournalism is not art" will be challenged in this forum, for I don't believe it is either true or helpful to make such an assertion.

DDay, Robert Capa