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Food and Art on KMAC Radio

This week’s KMAC Radio hour on ARTxFM is hosted by Dane Waters, the Director of Education at the Kentucky Museum of Art and Craft, and Eileen Yanoviak, the KMAC and Hite Art Institute Curatorial Research Fellow. The topic this week is the intersection of food, art, and music, looking at the rich history of art and music inspired by our fascination with food. Tune in to ARTxFM on Mondays from 11:00-noon EDT to catch the KMAC Radio hour. Each week, the KMAC blog will feature artworks discussed during the show.

The focus on food for this week is inspired by the KMAC’s annual Bourbon Bash happening October 5 at the Kentucky Center for African American Heritage. The theme for Bourbon Bash is “The Art of the Chef and the Craft of Cooking.” Join the KMAC Radio hour to discover how artists and musicians have been motivated by food for millennia.

Digital reconstruction of the triclinium of the Villa of the Mysteries, Pompeii, 79 AD, Getty
Digital reconstruction of the triclinium of the Villa of the Mysteries, Pompeii, 79 AD, Getty
Roberto Bompiani ,A Roman Feast, late 1800s
Roberto Bompiani, A Roman Feast, late 1800s
Jan Davidszoon de Heem, Still Life with Fruit and Ham, 1648-49
Jan Davidszoon de Heem, Still Life with Fruit and Ham, 1648-49
Pieter Brueghel the Elder,  The Peasant Wedding, 1568
Pieter Brueghel the Elder, The Peasant Wedding, 1568
Wayne Thiebaud, Cakes, 1963
Wayne Thiebaud, Cakes, 1963
Claes Oldenburg, Pancakes and Sausage, 1962
Claes Oldenburg, Pancakes and Sausage, 1962
Baompass & Parr, 50 States of Jell-O, 2010
Baompass & Parr, 50 States of Jell-O, 2010
Vin Muniz, Action Photo, after Hans Namuth, 1997
Vin Muniz, Action Photo, after Hans Namuth, 1997
Spurse, The Civil Appetites, 2013, for Eat It,  Contemporary Art Center of Rochester
Spurse, The Civil Appetites, 2013, for Eat It at the Contemporary Art Center of Rochester

KMAC Radio on ARTxFM

Join Kentucky Museum of Art and Craft Director Aldy Milliken and Associate Curator Joey Yates during the KMAC Radio hour on ARTxFM from 11:00-Noon EDT. Fresh from Expo Chicago, the international exposition of contemporary and modern art, Joey and Aldy will discuss expo highlights. KMAC Radio employs the medium of  radio as a vehicle for exploring art, weaving together visual art, music, and social ideas.

Inspired by the expo and the exhibitions on view at KMAC, Aldy and Joey will be discussing works by these artists.

Paul Sietsema Brush painting (green) 2012 enamel on dyed canvas
Paul Sietsema, Brush painting (green),  2012, enamel on dyed canvas

 Boris Zakic Alizarine 2006-07 oil on canvas

Boris Zakic, Alizarine, 2006-07, oil on canvas
Enrico Castellani Superficie bianca  1968 oil on shaped canvas
Enrico Castellani, Superficie bianca, 1968, oil on shaped canvas
Zilia Sánchez, Mujer (de la Serie el Silencio de Eros), 1965 (Woman of the Series the Silence of Eros) Acrylic on stretched canvas
Zilia Sánchez, Mujer (de la Serie el Silencio de Eros), 1965, acrylic on stretched canvas

These works are now on view at KMAC in the exhibitions Creative Growth: Judith Scott and Dan Miller and Gene Spatz: The Art of a Paparazzo!

Judith Scott Untitled 2006 mixed media
Judith Scott, Untitled, 2006, mixed media
Gene Spatz, Micahel Jackson and Stephanie Mills, 1977
Gene Spatz, Michael Jackson and Stephanie Mills, 1977

Natural Wonder

Image: Claire Sherman, Cave and Trees, 2011, oil on canvas, 96″ x 78″

By Mary Wallace

Born in Oberlin, OH, Claire Sherman began painting in high school, studying under a local artist and then went on to attend the Art Institute of Chicago. Recently Sherman has developed a style of landscape painting which employs the use of manipulation and abstraction to create her scenes. Often drawing from composite images of various environmental elements, she distorts the scene, forcing the viewer to make sense of the work. Her paintings push past the limits of the perceivable, natural environment and delve into a world broken down into its elemental forms. Sherman’s settings are often constructed by piecing together images of many different locations, thereby creating her own environment, rooted in reality and yet stepping into another world. Her work has represented not only the different seasons, but also a variety of geological locations. From a snow-laden forest to the dark, rocky interior of caves, to the sparse vegetation of the desert, her subject matter is immensely varied and yet her expressive style unites it all. She examines the basic elements of nature and promotes a sense of the pure wilderness; untouched and untamed by the work of humankind. One piece currently on display during The  7 Borders exhibit unites both the cave environment as well as the summer forest in full bloom. Cave and Trees (pictured above) is rendered from one of the many openings to the worlds longest cave system: Mammoth Cave, located near Bowling Green, Kentucky. Currently Mammoth Cave has been mapped at 346 miles long and has been in use for nearly 4,000 years since its discovery by early Native Americans. Although this cave system offers a vast interior, Sherman has chosen to represent its opening—as if one is coming out of a long journey through the cold underground, into a bright and inviting Kentucky forest.

Take Me to the River

Image: Al Gorman, “Alien Ballet” from the blog post Top Secret Report: Proof of Extraterrestrials March 3, 2013 by artistatexit0.

The Ohio River flows for more than 600 miles across Kentucky’s northern border creating a watercourse through the bordering states of Ohio, Indiana and Illinois. The confluence of commerce and community building that has taken place along the banks of the Ohio River for centuries is not unlike the development of societies around similar river networks throughout the world. These densely populated settlements depend on these rivers for nearly every basic need. For generations their identities have been shaped by the geological and environmental history of the river. Our evolving relationships to science, industry and religion have been heavily influenced by river societies since the beginning of human civilization.

These ideas intermingle in Andrew Underwood’s work The River, 2013, currently on view in the 7 Borders exhibition. Focusing on the motifs of fertility, time, and spirituality Underwood has woven, painted, photographed, collected, assembled and displayed a complete narrative of the history of the Ohio River from the prehistoric era to Native American cultures and into the Industrial age of steamboats. Set into a tailor made system of shelves Underwood incorporates the theme of fertility, most notably with an embroidered mother figure, but also through different iterations of the vessel, drawing connections between a Cherokee Bowl and photos of the century old steamboat the Belle of Louisville. With comparisons between the Ohio River, the Ganges River and The River Jordan he reminds us that cultures have long used the river for spiritual purposes, both for baptisms and burials.

Andrew Douglas Underwood
The River, 2013, Andrew Douglas Underwood

Al Gorman began his project of documenting the Ohio River in 2003 and in 2009 he was able to take this process global with the start of his blog artistatexit0.wordpress.com. A table placed within the 7 Borders exhibit contains a monitor with the blog along with a few of Gorman’s driftwood sculptures. Visitors of the website can follow his almost daily excursions to the Falls of the Ohio State Park located off of Interstate 65 in Jeffersonville, IN at Exit 0. Through storytelling and photography his documentation of found trash and driftwood has proven to be inexhaustible. The blog contains pages and pages of driftwood sculptures assembled on site by the artist and trash that Gorman has collected and classified into categories such as Balls of the Ohio, Kentucky Lucky Ducky Collection and Plastic Bottle Color Spectrum to name a few. It’s a three-part collusion with the artist, the people who have lost or thrown these objects away and with nature, which in this case happens to be a series of 390-million-year-old fossil beds. He raises concerns about our lack of knowledge or interest in where our garbage ends up, particularly with our abundant use of plastic.

Al Gorman, 7 Borders Installation.
Al Gorman, 7 Borders Installation.

Greg Stimac’s photograph Ancient Colony of Horse-Thieves, Counterfeiters and Robbers captures the mysterious and menacing history of a cave located on the banks of the Ohio River in Hardin County, Illinois. The site was known to be a hideout for notorious river pirates, highwaymen, serial killers and civil war bandits. Better known as Cave-In Rock it was used by Native Americans for thou­sands of years before the 1790s when it became a well-known stronghold for a gang of bandits led by Gregory Mason. They would prey upon the ferryboats carrying farm produce down the river from Kentucky, Ohio, and Southern Indiana. Stimac often investigates cultural sites that contain unique aspects of American History. His work in the 7 Borders exhibition is part a photo series of cave entrances located throughout the Midwest. Each one of these caves is associated with a famous American criminal or crime scene.

Greg Stimac Ancient Colony of Horse-Thieves, Counterfeiters and Robbers, 2009
Greg Stimac, Ancient Colony of Horse-Thieves, Counterfeiters and Robbers, 2009

Hidden Furniture

Image above:  Mark Moskovitz, Facecord, 2011, Mixed Hardwood, 55” x 36” x 22” Courtesy of the artist

Consistently emphasizing the inherent power of materials to communicate content and form Facecord by furniture designer Mark Moskovitz manipulates the appearance of freshly chopped wood prepared for use in the fireplace. On further inspection the woodpile reveals itself to be a functional sideboard. As a resident of Cleveland, Ohio where winter lows can average in the range of 20-30 degrees Fahrenheit, Moskovitz has created a work that is perhaps directly influenced by the surrounding environment.  His Picnic with Rietveld (not included in the exhibition) is a traditional picnic table made in tribute to Gerrit Thomas Rietveld the famous Dutch furniture designer and architect who created the iconic Red and Blue Chair in 1917 as an early exploration into the tenets of the De Stijl art movement.

Facecord departs from the use of primary color that is so essential to the Dutch innovators but it does retain its own sense of harmony and order. Moskovitz’s pieces engage in a dialogue with the landscape and the seasonal change that is so prevalent to his immediate location. KMAC shares recent showings of Facecord with The Museum of Art and Design in New York where it was included in the exhibition “Against the Grain: Wood in Contemporary Art, Craft and Design.” Mark earned his MFA from Cranbrook Academy of Art in 2005. He creates functional sculptures that hold both art and design in equal regard. He has shown at Arena One, Santa Monica; Jewish Museum of Berlin; St. Etienne, France; Felissimo Design House, New York City; Galeria Artis, Mexico City; and more.

Mark Moskovitz is a furniture designer currently living and working in Cleveland, Ohio. Facecord, his chest of drawers made to resemble a stack of logs, is currently on view in The 7 Borders exhibition at KMAC through September 1, 2013.

Functional Fantasy

Like the late fashion designer Alexander McQueen, Wendell Castle creates functional objects imbued with elements of fantasy in a way that so few artists have been successful. He has combined these elements into a practice that isn’t purely theatrical or cliché. He belongs to the legion of artists like Salvador Dali who have pushed these ideas into the dialogue about art and culture. At the base of this project is a real world experience that transcends the mundane and teaches us how the impractical can move us forward.

In 1996, Castle published “10 Adopted Rules of Thumb,” a guide to creativity that he has adapted and made his own, stemming from years of art making experience. Number 7 of his original Adopted Rules of Thumb states “If it’s offbeat or surprising it’s probably useful.”

The rules hang in Wendell Castle’s studio.

Since my studio visit with Wendell in October, the Dec/Jan issue of American Craft published Wendell Castle’s New Rules for Creativity.

Wendell Castle’s New Adopted Rules of Thumb

  1. Distrust what comes easily.
  2. You have to stand for something or you’ll fall for anything.
  3. Bring conflicting attitudes to bear on the same problem.
  4. We should never know for whom you’re designing.
  5. Always listen to the voice of eccentricity.
  6. The whole secret to designing a chair is applying the seat of your pants to the seat of the chair.
  7. The problem with taking life in your own hands is you have no one else to blame.
  8. If your mind is not baffled, your mind is not fully employed.
  9. Imagination, not reason, creates what is novel.
  10. Jumping to conclusions is not exercise.
  11. Keep knocking- eventually someone will look down to see who’s there.