Wednesday, March 28, 2012

End Game at the Museum of Fine Arts Houston

I spent last week in Houston, attending the biannual Fotofest "meeting place" portfolio reviews. I saw and learned enough to fill numerous blogs and I may actually write a few of them if I have time. I thought I'd start at a kind of ending, almost literally - or certainly metaphorically.

This is "End Game" by Damien Hirst.

I encountered this typically monumental assemblage (the skeletons are life size) after exiting James Turrell's marvelous tunnel of colored light in the lower level of the Museum of Fine Arts Houston. That's my reflection in the middle, bisected and beheaded by the stainless steel structure of the medical - or scientific? - cabinetry of the sculpture. How fitting.

I thoroughly enjoyed a leisurely afternoon in the museum, which has an outstanding selection of master works by nearly all of the familiar artists of the past several centuries. What I found most delightful was not rediscovering all these familiar artists but discovering excellent examples of their work that I'd never seen before.

Here is "The Rocks" by Van Gogh. 

As obvious as this may seem, I never tire of seeing a real Van Gogh painting (as opposed to reproductions). Even through repeated viewings. But coming upon a new one like this is a special treat. Truly awe-inspiring.

This is not meant to be more than a teaser. I hope to share more of my experiences in Houston soon.

For another take on Houston, check out my post on Urban Wilderness.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Milwaukee Arts Board honors Antler and Staab

Arts Without Borders salutes Antler and Roy Staab, who were awarded Milwaukee's Outstanding Artists of 2012 yesterday.

Antler is Milwaukee's award-winning former poet laureate and a lover of nature. He is well paired with Staab, an internationally reknowned artist who uses nature as his canvas and found natural objects as his artistic materials.

The ceremony was held in the cavernous new lobby of Next Act Theater. Mayor Tom Barrett joined with Arts Board Chair alderman Michael Murphy and other Arts Board members in honoring the two awardees.

Arts Board members Anne Kingsbury, of Woodland Pattern, and Polly Morris, of the Lynden Sculpture Garden, introduced Antler and Staab respectively.

Upon receiving the award Antler treated the crowd to three selected poems while images of Staab's many local installations played across a rear projection screen. Staab commented that by selecting only local pieces some of his most significant accomplishments went unheralded. In her remarks, Morris added that Staab probably is more well known abroad than here in his hometown.

It is to be hoped that this award will help to remedy that!