THE VISUAL ART QUARTERLY OF ST. LOUIS
Ron Laboray, These Aren’t the Droids You are Looking For (courtesy of the artist)
CONTENTS In Review (pgs. 1-8) Executive Editor/ Co-Founder Sarah Hermes Griesbach Creative Editor/ Co-Founder Amy Reidel Director of Layout and Design Maxine Ward Social Media and Outreach Manager Semilla Bland Principal Photographer Richard Reilly Content Contributors Michael R. Allen Mary Jewell Brown Addoley Dzegede Sarah Hermes Griesbach Eileen G’Sell Srdjan Grubor Walter Gunn Amy Hunter Margaret Keller Molly Moog Noemi Oyarzabal Amy Reidel Daniel Stumeier Rich Vagen Stacey Walker Sarah Weinman Print and Proof Contributors Jenny Agnew Keri Robertson
All the Art is interested in all voices. Although some of what you will read here has a traditional, academic tone, some content is decidedly experimental. We are interested in varied perspectives and writing styles and we are excited to assist developing art writers who are finding their voices. In this issue, Rich Vagen, Margaret Keller, Amy Reidel, Daniel Stumeier and more, offer their thoughts regarding work in a variety of venues.
Places and Spaces (pgs. 9-10) In this issue’s Places and Spaces, we take a tour of local outdoor sculpture. Molly Moog takes us on a scavenger hunt seeking out local works and Sarah Hermes Griesbach discusses the efforts involved in erecting a monument to Harriet and Dred Scott.
Studio Visits and Artist Interviews (pgs. 11-13) Sometimes the art of our contemporaries is instantly understandable and instantly beloved. Sometimes, art is elusive. Either way, knowing something about the artist’s motivation, ambitions, intentions or inspiration can give us a new way into their work. Discover some of the details behind the work of Cole Lu, Yael Shomroni, and the collaborative project Impossible Wants.
Community Voices (pgs. 14-16) Showcasing the varied languages and perspectives present in St. Louis, the Community Voices section includes a Spanish language article about the St. Louis Artists’ Guild move to Washington University and a Bosnian language piece about a new monument located in the Bevo Mill neighborhood.
Commentary (What’s Going On) (pg. 17) This section is dedicated to commentary pieces from St. Louis artists, art educators, observers, supporters, and challengers. Amy Hunter discusses a Confederate monument located in Forest Park and Walter Gunn and Michael R. Allen propose a new façade addition to the South Grand neighborhood.
Footnotes (pg. 18) Our Footnotes section provides street and website addresses for artists, art venues and other organizations discussed in this issue.
Front cover and back cover: Jessica Harvey, Future Great City of the World, installation view at The Luminary Center for the Arts (courtesy of the artist)
Peoples’ Joy Parade (photo credit: Amy Reidel)
In 2014, the real estate blog Movoto ranked St. Louis number four in a list of the “Most Creative” cities in the U.S. In the same year, the Escape Here travel blog rated our city the second "Worst City" in the country. Much of what has been written about the struggles faced by St. Louis is undeniable; however the description of our city as a rich climate for percolating art projects is also an honest assessment. That both of these truths coexist is not just a strange twist of fate. St. Louis is located in the geographic heart of the United States. As such, our city suffers from the sharp divides that injure our national populace, but also pumps the blood of change that can heal us. Our artists are critical to that healing. Artists identify problems and possible solutions through subjects chosen and not chosen, notes and drips, partial phrases and hidden layers. They mirror us and report on our time and place through realism, abstraction and metaphor. Artists inspire and confuse us with work that pushes us off balance and simultaneously offers relief. Because of this, art is not an inaccessible luxury available to only a select few in our society. It is a civic necessity that requires critical discussion. An ongoing and responsive dialogue around the artwork is as vital to that art as its very existence. Without conversation about and response to these visual works, the concepts that artists around us explore may not find a broad public reception. That public reception, including what happens within these pages, may help the people of the St. Louis region to evolve in our thinking and expand our scope of mutual understanding.
In this Fall 2015 issue, All the Art goes outside. We go out-of-doors seeking sculptures, public art and monuments that represent our varied perspectives. From the new Harriett and Dred Scott monument to the city’s loved and maligned Richard Serra sculptures, All the Art provides a companion text for art in public places. Also in this issue, our writers go “outside” of staid art norms to include the artwork of incarcerated men, and a collaboration among artists, poets, and our city’s street department. Luminary Center for the Arts artist-in-residence Jessica Harvey imagined St. Louis as a “Future Great City of the World” in her solo exhibition this past summer. Her images shown on our front and back covers, depict an unveiling of that possible future. We, too, believe that greatness is achievable for our region. We hope that you will join All The Art in the conversations for which our regional artists provide the necessary prompts. The art community in St. Louis is alive and thriving and has an ever-present newness to it that is different from a global art capital. This peripheral quality makes it less intimidating to enter into, so please join us. All are welcome to contribute their documentation of the art production that happens here. The more perspectives we can gather in these pages, the better we are able to draw connections among our region's diverse populations. When you read the reviews, interviews and essays in All the Art, you become part of our effort to bring recognition to the artists, curators and art workers in our region. All the Best from All the Art,
Executive Editor/ Co-Founder
Creative Editor/ Co-Founder
PRE-VERBAL PAINTING THE
Liat Yossifor: Pre-Verbal Painting at the Contemporary Art Museum (CAM) highlighted new work by the Israeli-born and now California based artist. Ranging from almost pocket-sized painting to the attention demanding large-scale, 60x62 inch canvases, Yossifor’s abstract, gestural paintings show thickly applied paint, worked across the canvas in sometimes long, sometimes short strokes. The six canvases that make up Pre-Verbal Painting share a monochromatic color palette, mostly consisting of a light gray, almost white, with hints of blues, yellows, reds, or greens showing through. In creating these paintings Yossifor worked within a set of rules created by herself, guided by the nature and size of the canvas, and the paint itself. Each
CONTEMPORARY ART MUSEUM ST. LOUIS painting is done over a three-day span, where initial base colors are applied and then worked and reworked by her hands, brush, and tools. Over the course of that time the colors combine and transform into a muted gray, a result of the process as much as a choice. While they are all bound by time, the larger pieces are bound by the physical traits and limits of their creator. The lines, the gestures, and the movement of the paint is defined by the way in which a body moves. As Yossifor moves throughout the layers of paint, her reach and range of motion determine the composition. Yet, even while working within a set of rules, Yossifor has the freedom to work towards a visual goal. Through re-working and editing she has the ability to present a painting that is visually striking and emotional.
This process of painting follows the established tradition and method of Action Painters from the Abstract Expressionists in a very modern and contemporary way. The act of painting, the performative nature, creates an artwork larger than the painting itself. For the artist, the movement within the paint, the personal connection from her skin molding the paint, the psychological connection of a trance-like subconscious state, is part of the finished art. And, for the viewer, it is not hard to imagine the movement of her arms, pushing paint against gravity, creating thick walls as her hand stops and joints turn over to allow a change in direction. We see the paint smooth as a final pass cuts across incised and engraved lines, thick from hands and palette knives or thin from brush handles. Behind the process, Yossifor’s Pre-Verbal paintings show contradiction. The monochrome gray is a result of mixing colors. The limited, unembellished palette fights against the active nature of the composition. Yossifor describes the result as a “structure from a lack of structure.” And, there is the secret that Yossifor hides behind her work: the paintings are abstract, but there is absolutely a pictorial quality to them. Working within her tightly constructed rules, she still manages to make the decisions that determine the outcome of the piece. -Rich Vagen
Liat Yossifor, Pre-Verbal Painting, Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis, installation view (photo credit: David Johnson) 01 ALLTHEARTSTL.COM FALL 2015
ALL FORMALITIES ASIDE: THE
CURIOUS ENCOUNTER OF KIT KEITH AND GARY PASSANISE REESE GALLERY
In their recent two-person exhibition All Formalities Aside: the Curious Encounter of Kit Keith and Gary Passanise, at Reese Gallery, both Keith and Passanise worked with unique visual vocabularies, revisiting and reworking imagery and materials. Keith paints on found substrates presumably salvaged from antique stores, thrift shops, or back alley dumpsters. Most of her paintings are grisaille portraits of women. Painted with a somber, black-and-white palette, they stare out hypnotically, unsmiling and vacant-eyed. Their identities are ambiguous. Some look similar and are clearly modeled after a specific person, maybe Keith herself, and appear to be based on old photographs or memories. Dressed in simple, elegant dresses and hairstyles, they are presented in a way that suggests fashion sensibilities from the 1950s, but are paradoxically timeless and enigmatic. The surfaces they are painted on, culled from a similar period, reveal the depredations of time passed and are battered, torn, and stained, imbuing the women with a nostalgic melancholy that is poignantly disaffected. A collection of Keith’s works is grouped together on a wall, salon-style. Portraits and other paintings are placed side-by-side with found objects and photographs of Keith as an adolescent. A crutch hangs upside down. Inside its nooks are a snapshot of Keith as a teenager dressed in an acrobatic leotard (she trained as a trapeze artist with the Flying Wallendas) and an upside down doll. The illogical juxtaposition of objects reveals a macabre sense of humor reminiscent of Duchamp’s ready-mades. It also hints at a personal narrative that seems to inform much of Keith’s work.
Kit Keith, Keith Sign Co. Portrait No. 1 (Image courtesy of the artist and Reese Gallery)
Kit Keith and Gary Passanise, All Formalities Aside, installation view, (photo credit: Courtesy of the artist and Reese Gallery)
Passanise creates monochromatic, non-objective works using aluminum and oil paints. A large painting, Silver Lining, fills most of one wall. It is relatively huge when seen in the intimate gallery, but it is not overpowering. Instead, it offers a contemplative calm that moderates the discordance in Keith’s work. If anything, the human scale of the 6 x 7 foot canvas makes it more inviting, providing a meditative space to gaze into that prompts introspection. Painted in aluminum, the title of Silver Lining is pseudo-literal, alchemical, and mawkishly poetic. Broad, confident brushstrokes streak horizontally downward, stretching across the canvas and filling most of its plane. They create a form that, like Rothko’s softly defined, rectangular forms, merges with the ground while simultaneously shifting forward. The left of this form is flanked by vertical smears. In the background, luminous cool blues, violets, and greens seep through the shimmering veils of aluminum. Passanise’s other paintings in the show are from a series of smaller works on paper. Like Silver Lining, these are also aluminum monochromes. Fleeting drips and washes intermingle with more deliberate marks. Impasto brushstrokes are concealed by aluminum, their texture reflecting beneath iridescent surfaces. Matte and gloss finishes meld, creating spatial tensions. Some works are made of two pieces of paper positioned together, creating a seam that acts as a formal device but also connotes diptychs or books. Surfaces are worked and reworked with formalist rigor—aggressively scraped or sanded down and built up again. Mostly monochromatic, hints of color peek through from beneath. Passanise’s visual language is distilled. As a result, gestures and materials gain significance as discreet variations emerge.
While they are undoubtedly distinct from one another, both artists create understated works that merit closer consideration and contemplation. Beneath quiet undertones, elusive dissonances lurk. For Passanise, these tensions are formal; compositions of static simplicity are loaded with subtle complexities. Spontaneous gestures are frozen in place. Figure and ground relationships shift back and forth. A large painting elicits meditation when its scale could easily overwhelm. Conversely, Keith instills found objects with her personal history. Objects are partially emptied of their original content, sometimes literally. A portrait is painted on an empty Purina “Check-R-Mix” bag, splayed out like a tanned hide. Another portrait is painted on a hollowed out, faded library book. Painting on found surfaces, grouping objects with paintings, and interspersing personal photographs and paraphernalia, Keith sublimates her materials as she generates her own anthropology. Both artists, whether salvaging found materials or working from modes of abstraction, reclaim past histories—delving inward to move forward. -Daniel Stumeier
FALL 2015 ALLTHEARTSTL.COM 02
AN ARTISTIC PRACTICE THE
We are all cut from the roots of our family; roots that break through the earth, push deep into its muddy tissue, and grab the cool dark clay for survival. Our roots follow us and let us know where and when we have been, map for us where and when we might be going. Solomon Thurman’s roots reach out and grow from his artwork, taking hold of the viewer. Thurman’s work depends on this connection with his participants. Through this artist-viewer relationship, we become a part of his story and experience as we listen and see how his art moves recursively between music that can be found in cotton fields and water, in open landscapes, highways and dark. Born in St. Louis, Solomon Thurman is an artist, researcher, and teacher. He writes that he creates art “symbolizing my ancestral roots in the Mississippi Delta.” In his art, “music from the fields reflect family memory [and] these seeds flowered into raw emotion.” ... “I wanted to create paintings that were an up-close and personal look at angles that make you hear the subjects – a moment in time that does not show its age.” Thurman’s art works sang a deeply personal story throughout the exhibit. In Shoe Shine Parlor, Harvey E. Stoudmire, black and white checkered floor contrasts with powder blue walls and smooth pink seats and jukebox. The clean lines of the floor and furniture set the figures in the painting to motion.
The shape of the bodies, their positions and angles, bring them to life. Music from the jukebox and the muttering of conversations erupt from canvas as if real. Seven mixed media works were arranged to form a neatly fitted collection in which color, texture and shape moved together, making music. Thurman captures the creation and possibility music offers and the promise of one’s dreams even in the face of extreme conditions. Field of Dreams explores the need to fantasize and to find reprieve while working. In Bag to Basket, hard work is measured, weighed and judged. The concepts of harvesting and farming also lend to themes of community, family, and relationships. All of which are inspirations for songs, and more specifically, the rich, fat texture of the blues. In Hands in Motion, Thurman not only brings to life the heat of the cotton season but the collaboration and musicality of using one’s hands to harvest. One can see and hear the rhythm resonate from the foreground to the background. Thurman keeps us moving with the figures in his work. Not only do we witness movement in these works, but we sense renewal as well. Despite the conflicts and struggles of these figures, Thurman offers rebirth. In the Baptism Series, we are allowed to quench our thirst in what “spiritual energy” these works recreate. In contrast to the works found in his Migration Series, the colors here are more primary
SHELDON ART GALLERIES
and balanced. We are washed in creamy blues that are thick and swallow up the figures. Both the sky and water offer salvation. Share the Knowledge and Living the Blues depict connections among creativity, optimism, music, and intimacy. Thurman celebrates ancestors “who came through slavery and Jim Crow,” and who gathered around candlelight reading and sharing. He celebrates those who have traveled lonely roads but still find solace and salvation in music. He celebrates those who hear the music, even though the traveling bluesman and trusted dog are asleep. The music still moves above them in the trees that line the back alley: the thick layers of blue and gray whip and swirl in the branches. In Thurman’s art, I am reminded of James Baldwin’s “Sonny’s Blues.” I particularly recall the ending of Baldwin’s short story, the moment the narrator first hears his brother, Sonny, play the blues, “I seemed to hear with what burning he had made it his, and what burning we have yet to make it ours […] Freedom lurked around us and I understood, at last, that he could help us be free if we would listen, that he would never be free until we did.” -Stacey Walker
Solomon Thurman, Social Hour (photo credit: Courtesy of the artist and 10th Street Gallery) 03 ALLTHEARTSTL.COM FALL 2015
NEW USE OF THE SELF THE
A New Use of the Self, at the Luminary, acted as both a meditation and a dialogue on the self. The large gallery windows allow one to see out and in, engaging the charm of Cherokee street. Artwork in the exhibition was not organized by artist, allowing different perspectives to mingle. The perpetual conversation between community and gallery, exhibitions, and artists was apparent. The works of Lyndon Barrois Jr., Tom Holmes, Janez Janša, Janez Janša, Janez Janša (yes, there were three artists named Janez Janša in this show), Chelsea Knight, Sara Magenheimer, and Chloe Seibert were displayed in the main gallery. The title of the exhibition refers to the writings of Giorgio Agamben, an Italian philosopher concerned with “the biopolitical implications of the individual after the society of the spectacle”. The artists’ mediations were far from standard portraiture. In fact, most of the pieces did not directly inform the viewer about the artist, but asked for reflection on the subject of identity in a globalizing, media-dominated world. In her film, Searching for a Character, Chelsea Knight explains that there are two parts integral to any social interaction: the information one gives about themselves willingly, and the information one “gives off” that they may or may not intend to convey- their “vibe”, if you will. Three screens, separated by the work of other artists in the show, allow the viewer to watch Knight road trip across the country hoping to reveal something about the actors she encounters. The actors read monologues with verve, but a deeper interest is fulfilled when the viewer gets a glimpse of their unrefined self: the insecurity
found when the actors are unsure how far their eyes should wander, which direction their bodies should move and the meaning of each rehearsed line. A mixed media installation created by a collaborative trio, all named Janez Janša, included three parts that document their action of legally changing their names to match the former Slovenian prime minister (whose birth name actually happens to be Ivan). The wall was painted to mimic the Slovenian flag, their country of origin. A glass plaque hung on the wall showing three forms of identification for each artist: a membership card to Slovenska Demokratska Stranka (the Democratic Party of Slovenia), a photo ID and a credit card. These forms of identification trace a distancing from their original self toward their new identity. The membership cards state their given names, the photo IDs show the same name with different faces attached to it, and the credit cards are identical. On the ground, a video played in which the artists simultaneously, and robotically, read the letter they received from the prime minister upon joining the Democratic Party.
“The more of us there are, the faster we will reach our goal”, the eery voices conclude. The installation, titled Troika, questions similar ideas as Knight’s video regarding the relationship between the presentation of oneself in a society dominated by media.
LUMINARY CENTER FOR THE ARTS
Nearby, on the floor of the gallery sat an unassuming cardboard box. On top of the box, an image of Santa Claus lay flat, and propped above it, a man drinking Coca-Cola out of the bottle. Lyndon Barrois, Jr. marries disparate images, placing them on cardboard boxes (in the case of Sentiment) as well as painted frames, such as Saltwater and Napoleonic, which hang on the wall. The images are recognizable, a pair of oversized glasses you might find in a yearbook from the 1980s, or pearly white shoes that have yet to be removed from the box, but they are paired to invite new associations and interpretations. The images are layered, and slapped onto a surface, not haphazardly, but with careful consideration, curated like an advertisement in a magazine. In 1967, before Twitter and Instagram, before cell phones and online dating, Guy Debord wrote The Society of the Spectacle. In it, he insists that social interactions have been replaced by representations of the real thing, that the interconnectedness of mankind is based on mere metaphors of being interconnected. Now, you can make a friend with the click of a button, and anyone’s identity can be taken from thousands of miles away. A New Use of the Self explores this interconnectedness through representations of identity, existence, and desire. As Knight, the Janšas, and Barrois make quite clear, it is a privilege and a torment that our sense of self is now inextricably linked with the image-saturated world around us. -Mary Jewell Brown
Janez Janša3, Troika (photo credit: Brea Photography) IN REVIEW
FALL 2015 ALLTHEARTSTL.COM 04
GLIMPSE INSIDE THE BOX
BEVERLY GALLERY AT FORT GONDO COMPOUND FOR THE ARTS
Old Vienna Hot Chips, Kool cigarettes, instant coffee and Ramen noodles. A yellow legal pad, pen and a personal fan. One single plastic spoon. Not the state-issued spork served at every meal, but a non-descript, highly coveted, NORMAL spoon. Symbols of the most basic and overlooked rituals of daily life provide a sense of routine when all other facets of a humane existence are removed. These objects, representing the adopted comforts of life ‘on the inside’, met us at the entrance, acting as a key into the exhibit, A Glimpse Inside the Box at Beverly Gallery on Cherokee street. Curated by students of the St. Louis University Prison Arts & Education Program held at Eastern Reception, Diagnostic and Correctional Center (ERDCC) in Bonne Terre, Missouri, all artworks, essays, wall tags, and recipes were carefully crafted by a diverse group of incarcerated men. Arranged by the five stages of grief and loss as described by Swiss-American Psychiatrist Elizabeth Kübler-Ross, the exhibit at first looked like an “outsider” art fair. Arranged in discrete groupings were pencil and charcoal drawings, rubbings, toilet paper and soap sculptures, and sewing kit dioramas. Wayfinding in a clockwise direction brought the first stage of denial, with the others following in order ending in acceptance as visitors exited the space. Denial: Although skillful and masterfully detailed, the works in ‘denial’ could easily pass as the private sketches of a horny but tortured teenager. Ranging from graphite and colored pencil on paper to mixed media on cardboard, these renderings of women conflict with each other. The perfectly round breasts and buttocks of characters that merge Xena: Warrior Princess with Kim Kardashian seem to have difficulty
even hanging on the same wall with ‘Celeste’-the drawn tribute to the any-woman. She could be wife, mother, sister, me. Anger: Seven charcoal and graphite drawings look like torn and rubbed records of an emotive, visceral response to obvious distress. Something’s been bashed and broken. Trying to scratch their way out through mark-making, this collective of artists has tapped into the frantic mentality surrounding the loss of life, loss of freedom, loss of self. This wall of uncomfortable and aggressive drawings is completed by a patriotic, leather-tooled image of America’s bald eagle above the saying ‘One Nation Under God’. Is this piece an ironic F-you to our national government or a sincere gesture of possible comfort? Bargaining: “Eggs in space w/ Dr. Taco. Eyes on boobs. Why is there glass in my socks?” The analytical and mathematical drawings in this section act as maps and formulas attempting to make sense of that which has no logic. Arranged into two columns are minimal, pencil on paper works and intricately detailed, geometric, and colorful drawings. They appear as opposite teams complete with mascots; toilet paper and soap sculptures of a cute, cartoon kitty for the left and a bucking mustang for the right. The variety of work along with the aforementioned quotes combine for a ‘tit for tat’, nonsensical desperation and pleading. Depression: Melting zombie figures, sad kids, terrifyingly squashing “black Friday” crowds positioned with ephemeral portrayals of light and nature. The symbolism of a language and vision stunted or at least stalled. Everything is tight and
A Glimpse Inside the Box, installation view at Beverly Gallery, (photo credit: Richard Reilly) 05 ALLTHEARTSTL.COM FALL 2015
Joe Bostic, detail from Acceptance Wall (photo credit: Amy Reidel)
without the gestural energy that gives drawing breath. There is a sense that the air has been sucked out of the room when facing one of these intimate works. Thoughtful and emotionally heavy, they show understanding of value and composition. Acceptance: Finally. I’m able to cry. Tiny dioramas made from toothpicks, wooden ice cream spoons, walnut shells, empty sewing kit boxes, and Emory boards cut right through the thick of any bullshit. Using only fingernail-clippers and an Emory board as his tools, Joe Bostic has created cozy worlds of fishing, camping, and family memories. There is no longer a sense of urgency. These works all obviously required an extensive amount of time to create and that alone suggests a sort of surrendering. Nothing is trying to be something it’s not, and with these sincere, miniature families trapped forever in their little memory boxes, it’s time for me to move on. - Amy Reidel
HOW I FELT ABOUT THE LAST DROP OF CHARLIE BROWN THE
The Suburban gallery sits behind the suburban home of Michelle Grabner and Brad Killam, adjacent to the garage and the flower garden. Its tiny, 8x8 foot size is in inverse proportion to the impact this independent art space has had on artists from the Midwest and beyond. In 1997, the Milwaukee couple moved to Chicago and saw that the art scene had few opportunities for contemporary artists.
They took matters into their own hands. Similar to a studio practice, success at The Suburban is determined by the artist, who has complete control, without constraint of commercial success. From homegrown beginnings, The Suburban has become a nexus of the contemporary art world, featuring artists such as Olafur Eliasson, Luc Tuymans and Julie Mehretu along with hundreds of other artists.
Along the way, Grabner was selected as a Whitney Biennial 2014 curator. Now Grabner and Killam are returning to Milwaukee and moving The Suburban. St. Louis artist Ron Laboray’s summer exhibition, the last at The Suburban in its Chicago location, paid homage to the supportive role this gallery has played for artists of the Midwest and beyond. Laboray’s premise is that supportive relationships are important. Relationships such as Snoopy’s and Charlie Brown’s. He painted the exterior of The Suburban to reflect the colors of Charles Schultz’ iconic Snoopy sitting on top of his doghouse. Both doghouse and gallery were presented as sites for deep reflection. Inside was a giant, soft sculpture of felted wool in bright yellow, black and white, titled How I Felt About the Last Drop of Charlie Brown. The sculpture was shaped like a giant drop, complete with a puddle on the floor. Here, the artist imagines the final drop of Charlie’s identity, that of the born loser. Laboray chose Charlie Brown because universally, at some point, we can all identify with him and appreciate Snoopy’s role of empathizing with Charlie and, by extension, with us all. Just behind the giant drop was Laboray’s painting Flaming Monk, based on the famous photo by Malcolm Brown of a Buddhist monk setting himself on fire. In Flaming Monk, Laboray makes a connection between the Buddhist idea that all life is suffering and Charlie Brown’s suffering. A vague image of the iconic photograph shimmers in the glossy surfboard resin and auto urethane, behind a bold rectangle of poured paint standing in for the body of the monk. Two final paintings furthered the theme of alleviation of suffering through relationships with friends, family and mentors: Poppies, an abstracted image of a scene from The Wizard of Oz, with symbols of the Lion, Dorothy, the Tin Man and the Scarecrow and These Aren’t the Droids You’re Looking For. These Aren’t the Droids You’re Looking For is based on a student and teacher’s heroic journey in Star Wars and references Laboray’s mentor, St. Louis artist Michael Byron. Byron was simultaneously showing his installation Syntax Within a Gray Scale, in the gallery next door. -Margaret Keller
Ron Laboray, How I Felt About the Last Drop of Charlie Brown installation view (Courtesy of the artist) IN REVIEW
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WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY THE
MINORITY ARTIST IN ST. LOUIS
When De’Joneiro Jones learned that his artwork would be exhibited in Washington University’s venerable Seigle Hall, he wasn’t that surprised. “I had a feeling it was going to happen. I thought they were going to choose a different piece, but appreciated that they were doing this at all.” Jones’s multimedia piece, Vicious Cycle, centers upon an image of TIME magazine from August 2, 1965, its cover featuring a black-and-white photomontage of the Los Angeles riots. Bursting with a cacophony of splattered acrylic paint, a collaged antique Italian banknote, and a torn 1984 calendar page, the piece’s meaning is, according to the artist, “open to interpretation.” In light of the work’s 2014 provenance, however, it’s hard not to instinctively recall the days following the shooting of Mike Brown and again after the non-indictment of Darren Wilson, when Ferguson, St. Louis, and the country at large became embroiled in an ongoing movement to redress centuries of race discrimination.
This upcoming academic year, Vicious Cycle will be on view in the office of Washington University’s Vice Provost Adrienne Davis as one of sixteen works selected as part of an inaugural call for “submissions of artworks from underrepresented minorities,” an effort spearheaded by the university’s new Center for Diversity and Inclusion. 30-plus artists were evaluated by an advisory board of students and faculty co-chaired by LaTanya Buck, the director of the Center, and Heather Corcoran, the director of the university’s College & Graduate School of Art. While Jones does not consider himself a political artist, the artwork’s placement on the walls of the university addresses two cultures that, sadly, rarely overlap: Washington University in St. Louis and the St. Louis that often invisibly orbits Washington University. Davis notes this fissure. “We are Washington University in St. Louis, but St. Louis artists haven’t always felt fully invited into campus community. De’Joneiro Jones and other artists selected are part of the aesthetic and cultural fabric of our community. It’s part of the university claiming the city and the region in which we live.”
As a collector of African American artwork, Davis resolved to take her move to a new office across campus as an opportunity to share the work of emerging minority artists. “When I got my brand new space, I first thought, ‘I should bring some of my art over.’ Then I thought, ‘No, this would be a great opportunity to bridge all of the loves and passions in my work.’ I want visitors to our office to see a range of experiences represented. It’s important for people who walk into my office to see St. Louis artists there.” This wish will soon be granted: six works from five artists were selected for the Vice Provost’s office. An additional nine works and three artists were chosen for exhibition at the Center for Diversity and Inclusion. Of the four women and four men chosen, each offers breadth of styles, media, and thematic concerns that are a refreshing shift from the campus’s virtually uninterrupted granite-scape of somber red and pink. Addoley Dzegede’s 2011 The Ships That Shaped presents 198 paint samples based upon the colors of a tiled fountain the artist encountered while traveling in Portugal, once a site of the Atlantic Slave Trade. “I started to think about the relationship between wealth and beauty and the historical suffering that supported that relationship. At first, I was just using the paint samples for their color and planned to draw the iconic diagram of the Brookes ship on them, and cut those out. But as I began to work, I saw that there was a peculiar relationship between the imagery and the names of the paint colors.” From a distance, the piece resembles a lively Josef Albers color experiment, but up close the infamous slave ship forms pop from the innocuous paint samples, reshaping the way we see the strips of decorative, tile-like hues. Maria Ojascastro’s mixed-media piece, Breathe, layers prints, paint, text and found objects, exuding a more contemplative mood, as do Sukanya Mani’s acrylic paintings Back to Back and Flower Seller. It is clear that submissions were selected based on a range of criteria, quality of execution chief among them. What is less clear is just who and how many will see these artworks, and whether their installation at a renowned university can prove more than an essentially symbolic gesture. “I'm just happy that someone at Wash U outside of the Sam Fox School [the university’s art division] is even thinking about artists—and artists of color, more specifically, on top of that,” shares Dzegede. “And I love that artists from outside of the Wash U community were also invited to apply.” Lyndon Barrois, Jr., a university adjunct instructor whose works Super and Wonder will be on view, relates a sober, if hopeful, perspective with regards to the Center’s audience. “I honestly have no idea who will see the work, either within or outside of the University, but perhaps Wash U and its people are the target audience, given that this initiative seems to
Maria Ojascastro, Breathe, (Image courtesy of the artist) 07 ALLTHEARTSTL.COM FALL 2015
DIVERSITY INITIATIVE: be an example of the institution being self-reflective. These new voices that will populate the walls will surely offer new insights to those least expecting it.” Perhaps more than ever, what is meant by “diversity and inclusion,” at both the localized and institutional level, can only be clearly legible upon the recent backdrop of division and exclusion that landed St. Louis on the cover of TIME Magazine almost 50 years after the Watts riots. Within such a convulsive context, how might one understand the role of the arts, in particular that of the minority artist? And just what can diversity initiatives initiate in a time of die-ins and tear gas? “If it weren’t for Mike Brown, would black art even be looked at?” asks De’Joneiro Jones. “Me being a product of St. Louis and knowing the racism that exists here, I have to ask that. There really aren’t that many blacks that make key decisions that are visible.” While plans for the Center for Diversity and Inclusion presaged Brown’s death by a year, Jones’s question exposes a palpable rift between university intent and popular conceptions of its mission. “As an institution, we’re really still learning about the sounds of the community,” says Heather Corcoran, “and we’re really blown away and excited about the quality and number of artworks submitted.” Davis further acknowledges, “At the university, we haven’t always done as good of a job as we could have done to welcome members of the community.”
Lyndon Barrois Jr., Super (Image courtesy of the artist)
July 1st, 2014, marked Latanya Buck’s installment as the director of the Center for Diversity, and it is heartening that one of her first moves was to invite minority artists, both on and off campus, to show their work on the Danforth walls. “This call for submissions is but a small step to creating inclusivity, and I look forward to the beginning of future and fruitful partnerships with various communities. It is a building of bridges of sorts. It is also important to note that we put out the call during the inaugural year of the development of the Center; this demonstrates our want for and commitment to local connectivity from the onset. It is all very intentional.” In both intent and execution, this call for submissions ultimately, if indirectly, confronts the patent lack of racial and socioeconomic diversity at the university itself. Precious few undergraduates (6%) each year qualify for Pell Grants, meaning that the overwhelming majority come from extremely affluent means. In recent years, the university has placed last in U.S. News & World Report’s ranking of economic diversity at its top 25 national universities, a disquieting figure especially given that St. Louis is both one of the country’s poorest and most segregated cities. In addition to the $500 honoraria granted each of the eight artists selected by the Center this year, Wash U would then do well to take seriously demands for need-blind admissions and more generous, equitable financial aid for all students smart enough to stroll up the Brookings stairway.
De’Joneiro Jones, Vicious Cycle (Image courtesy of the artist)
But even if the initiative proves largely symbolic, symbols, especially from the upper echelons of institutional power are never meaningless. Symbols are important. They have power. But symbols can’t compensate for years of structural violence excluding minority bodies, voices and art from the places that matter. One must see the university’s initiative as an overdue move toward derailing this vicious cycle. -Eileen G’Sell
Lyndon Barrois Jr., Wonder (Image courtesy of the artist) FALL 2015 ALLTHEARTSTL.COM 08
SAINT LOUIS SCULPTURE SCAVENGER HUNT Molly Moog Have you knowingly viewed any outdoor sculpture lately? Sculptures all over St. Louis await you at dedicated institutions such as City Garden and Laumeier Sculpture Park, as well as outside and inside our museums and dotting our city and county parks. Among a plethora of talented artists, are five Modern and Contemporary sculptors whose works appear and reappear across our city. With just a quick walk or ride from one neighborhood to another we can observe some of the career transitions of five sculptors whose works shape our local “artscape.”
Godiva Reisenbichler’s drawing of Mark Di Suvero’s Bornibus at Laumeier Sculpture Park.
RICHARD SERRA Known for his industrial-scale, site-specific sculptures, Richard Serra (b. 1939) has a long-standing relationship with St. Louis. In 1974, the City of St. Louis granted Serra his first public commission in the United States for Twain, completed in 1982, which occupies a full city block east of the Civil Courts building downtown. This site-specific horizontal sculpture comprises eight steel plates, each roughly ten feet tall, arranged in an open quadrilateral form that invites the viewer to enter and take refuge from the sounds of the city. A non-commemorative sculpture made from industrial materials, Twain challenged St. Louisans, many of whom were unfamiliar with Serra’s work. Due to public concern, changes in the planning of the Gateway Mall, and a laborious approval process, a decade passed after its commission before Twain was finally installed. Twain received renewed attention recently in the 2014 Saint Louis Art Museum exhibition, Sight Lines: Richard Serra’s Drawings for Twain. Nearby in the courtyard of the recently re-opened Pulitzer Arts Foundation is Richard Serra’s Joe, 1999. This giant torqued spiral in rusty-red steel is the first of a series and was commissioned by the foundation and director Emily Rauh Pulitzer, who also had a pivotal role in the commissioning of Twain. Joe named after Pulitzer’s late husband, publisher Joseph Pulitzer, Jr., references the form of natural spirals 09 ALLTHEARTSTL.COM FALL 2015
such as the nautilus shell. As visitors walk through the spiral, they must alter their movement due to the sculpture’s inward-slanting walls. An ever-shifting view of the sky gives a disorienting feeling until one reaches the relative openness of the inner core.
ALEXANDER CALDER American sculptor Alexander Calder (1898-1976) is known for both tiny and monumental kinetic sculptures, often in painted steel. Various St. Louis institutions display works by Alexander Calder including two stabile-mobiles, Phrygian Cap, 1963 at the Saint Louis Art Museum and Five Rudders, 1964 on the sculpture terrace of the Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum on the campus of Washington University. Calder constructed mobiles, suspended sculptures with hanging movable elements; stabiles, completely immobile sculptures; and stabile-mobiles, hybrid works with stabile bases topped by kinetic elements. The black, biomorphically-shaped vanes of the Kemper’s Five Rudders extend outward from a heavy red pyramidal base. In contrast, Phrygian Cap has a lighter, curvier black base, topped by shifting rounded steel facets painted red and blue. The top element of Phrygian Cap resembles the soft, slouching red hat, donned by French revolutionaries, that has come to symbolize liberty and freedom. The heavy rudders of Five Rudders and the top half of Phrygian Cap are designed to move on their own
PLACES AND SPACES
with a strong gust of wind. These works evidence Calder’s ability to counterbalance shade and color, weight and airiness, and stability and movement.
JACQUES LIPCHITZ The sculpture of Lithuanian Jacques Lipchitz (1891-1973) is well represented throughout St. Louis collections. Lipchitz’s first large-scale sculpture, The Bather, 1923-5, is a figurative bronze nude made during his years in Paris. Through dynamic planes and volumes Lipchitz re-envisions this traditional subject. Forest Park’s Steinberg Ice Rink is the site of Lipchitz’s Joie de Vivre, 1927, a loose tangle of ribbon-like bronze strands. Lipchitz created this sculpture to inspire his ill sister. The title, meaning “joy of life,” is reflected in the airiness and dynamism of this sculpture. One of Lipchitz’s later works, Birth of the Muses, 1944-50, is located at the Missouri Botanical Garden. Lipchitz made this bronze frieze in America after he fled France during World War II. After arriving in the United States his sculptural forms became more fluid, powerful, and agitated. At the same time, his subject matter became grander and more mythological, mirroring the Abstract Expressionist painters’ interest in spirituality and human origins. Birth of the Muses depicts the writhing and twisting body of Pegasus, the flying horse of the gods. The craters left by his hooves were said to have created springs on Mount Olympus from which the Greek muses were born. At the Mildred Lane
Kemper Art Museum is Lipchitz’s Mother and Child, 1949, a figural work in bronze that reflects Lipchitz’s joy at the birth of his daughter, Loyla. This rounded, curvilinear work reflects a mood that Lipchitz cited as “tender and obviously maternal.”
ARISTIDE MAILLOL On the sculpture plaza of the Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum is a cast of Homage to Debussy, c. 1930, by French sculptor Aristide Maillol (1861-1944). Maillol, who primarily sculpted female nudes, was commissioned to create this monument for Saint-German-en-Laye, France, the hometown of composer Claude Debussy. This smooth, crouching female figure with its face cast downward as though in meditation, is Maillol’s only work informed by musical influences. Two other sculptures by Maillol, The Mountain, 1937, at the Saint Louis Art Museum and The River, 1938-1943, at City Garden, both belong to a series of works in which the female nude symbolizes natural phenomena. Cast in lead, The Mountain is a seated woman with windswept hair and a solid base. The River is a curved, reclining nude with her head inclined and hands delicately extended outward, as if to resist the flow of the current. Both sculptures were modeled after Dina Vierny, Maillol’s young muse and longtime model. An exceptional figure in her own right, Vierny was a member of the French resistance during World War II and led refugees from occupied France over the border to Spain on mountainous footpaths.
MARK DI SUVERO Several works by sculptor Mark Di Suvero (b. 1933) can be seen around the city. In fact, they are hard to miss. Di Suvero constructs large sculptural assemblages out of salvaged wood, industrial materials, such as steel I-beams and cables; and scrap metal. In Bornibus, 1985-86, at Laumeier Sculpture Park, intersecting rusted I-beams form an equilibrium, supporting a kinetic element shaped like a V that is attached to an open circle dangling from a steel cable. Despite its weighty materials, Di Suvero’s delicately balanced architectonic structure seems to defy the laws of gravity. In Aesop’s Fables, 1990, at City Garden, bright red zig-zagging I-beams link steel crescent shapes at one end with large V-forms at the other. Di Suvero often titles his work after literary and cultural references. This work references a collection of tales about animals by the ancient Greek slave Aesop in which the creatures’ behavior served as an allegory for the foibles of humankind. This is but a mere sampling of what awaits the intrepid observer of St. Louis’ outdoor sculpture.
A TALE OF TWO SCULPTURES Sarah Hermes Griesbach Opposite Union Station on Market Street in downtown St. Louis, Swedish sculptor Carle Milles’ playful Meeting of the Waters attracts tourists posing for pictures and kids looking to cool off. You know the fountain. An allegorical Mississippi (white, male figure) and Missouri (white, female figure) stand in the fountain amidst all sorts of water creatures. Milles was awarded the commission in 1939, surely due to the European classicism represented in his submitted proposal. The nudity of the figures caused a bit of a stir at the time, but it is safe to say that this fun and frothy public artwork fits firmly into the American urban status quo. Not far from Milles’ fountain is a newer addition to the bronze figural population of our city. Sculptor Harry Weber’s portrayal of Harriet and Dred Scott memorializes the historic heroic struggle of African Americans to gain freedom from slavery. Though it arrived with some public fanfare, this recent addition to St. Louis sculpture was not ushered into being at the same speed or with the kind of financial support that Milles’ fountain received. Public art is often subjected to more intense scrutiny than art found in spaces that require purposeful entry. We set a tone of belonging and/or exclusion by the choices of whom we depict and do not depict in the sculpture that dots our urban landscape. Funding for public works often determines the choices made. If funding had determined the choice of whether to commission a memorial to Harriet and Dred Scott, that sculpture would not stand before the Old Court House. Lynne Jackson, the great, great granddaughter of Harriet and Dred Scott, continues to fundraise on behalf of the Dred Scott Heritage Foundation so that she can finally pay off the approximately $250,000 cost of the sculpture. The statue was unveiled on June 8th, 2012 despite the unfulfilled fundraising. Both Weber and Jackson felt that the sculpture was too important to be warehoused until the money could be raised.
Harry Weber, Harriet and Dred Scott Sculpture (photo credit: Richard Reilly)
who kept bringing in a change purse full of coins,” recalls teacher Amy Jacobson. “We had to ask students, ‘Is this your lunch money?’ to keep them from skipping a meal for the sake of the fundraiser.” A group of Seminole students made a trip to the bank to deposit their gains. By the time they’d put all of the coins into the counting machine, bank customers had decided to contribute too. Sternberg and a small group of teachers from Seminole came to St. Louis to represent their school and present a check to Jackson last May. Sternberg beamed with pride as she recalled the overwhelming response of her Seminole students to this public sculpture project in St. Louis, “Now, everybody at Seminole knows about Harriet and Dred Scott’s contribution to the passing of the 13th and 14th and 15th Amendments.”
Last Spring, at Seminole Middle School in Plantation, Florida, teacher Mary Sternberg heard about a penny drive challenge to raise funds for the Harriet and Dred Scott sculpture in far-away St. Louis. Sternberg was struck by the relevance of this memorial to her students’ study of the work of black abolitionists. The challenge resulted in Seminole students filling water cooler containers with coins and bills. Sternberg has no obvious connection to St. Louis. She is the Social Studies department chair at Seminole, a Title One school. (The Title One program, enacted in 1965, provides funds to schools that serve students living at or near poverty levels.) The importance of a visible memorial celebrating these important historical figures was obvious to her, however. Apparently, it also struck a chord for her middle school students. The Florida students announced new grade-level fundraising numbers over the school intercom daily as students put together an ad campaign to promote their peers’ philanthropy. “I have a student from Haiti Harry Weber, Harriet and Dred Scott Sculpture (photo credit: Richard Reilly) PLACES AND SPACES
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POTTERY FOR PERSPECTIVE
A CONVERSATION BETWEEN SARAH WEINMAN AND YAEL SHOMRONI Sarah Weinman: Why do you like working with pottery? Which themes does your work address? How did you come to be a ceramicist? Yael Shomroni: I’m mostly self-taught, and I just had a feeling about ceramics from the time I was a child. When I was in elementary school in Jerusalem, the teachers picked a few kids who were talented in art to take painting classes at a local art museum. In the corner of the painting room was a pottery wheel and all I wanted was to work on the wheel, but I wasn’t allowed. In the late 1980s, after I came to the U.S., I took two years of pottery classes at St. Louis Community College - Meramec. Then I transferred to Maryville University and took pottery classes there. In the early 2000s, I took classes at Craft Alliance. That was when my career as a ceramicist took off. I started to see myself as a professional potter. SW: What kind of objects do you enjoy creating? YS: I like functional pottery, which is the term for useful items. I like art you can use. I make a lot of liquor containers, which also relate back to my life in Israel. To pay for college there, I worked as a bartender in Jerusalem in inclusive bars. This was at the end of the 1970s, a brief moment when Palestinians and Israelis got along. None of those bars exist anymore. The liquor bottles I make evoke those amazing places and amazing people. The containers actually have very little to do with alcohol itself. The shapes of my pieces have to do with my childhood. The pottery in Israeli museums is mostly ancient and my pieces evoke the shapes of this ancient pottery.
SW: Who are some artists who inspire you? YS: I like the pottery shapes and glazes that Bede Clark uses. Nick DeVries makes functional pieces which are also art. Other potters include Laura Ross, Sophie Cook, and Nicholas Bernard. SW: What do you hope viewers take away from your work? YS: The best thing is when someone tells me they use my work all the time. My work doesn’t only look good, but it’s functional too. SW: How does being Jewish influence your work? YS: We were raised atheist, which is very Israeli, but being Jewish is a cultural thing. I relate more to Jon Stewart than to the AIPAC [American Israel Public Affairs Committee] people. Judaism isn’t a religion for me, but a culture. I do need to hear Hebrew when I work, and always listen to Hebrew music or talk radio. When I hear that language, I can connect to myself better. The effect it has on my work is amazing. Immigration is a hugely emotional thing. It doesn’t matter if you wanted to do it or not. People deal with this in different ways. Some ignore the past completely, while others remain in the past – they only have friends from the old country, for example. I dance between these two extremes, and language is one aspect I keep. SW: Tell me about your choice of colors for your pieces. I use a lot of blues and greens. Nature is a huge part of my life and these are the colors of my childhood. When we lived in Tel Aviv we were always by the sea.
Yael Shomroni, Happy Wine Set (photo credit: Lon Brauer)
Also, Arab villagers in Jerusalem paint their houses blue and green to keep ghosts away. I never know which color combinations I’ll get. I use two glazes and a stain for the blue, and then fire the items in my kiln. Each batch turns out differently from the others. SW: Why are you drawn to vessels? YS: This shape is stuck somewhere in my childhood. Also, it’s challenging to make a vessel with a neck and I’m drawn to the challenge. I’m drawn to the form itself, and to other potters who make vessels. The form of a vessel is ancient and I’m attracted to that. Also, a lot of my work is oval-shaped, feminine, and I’m drawn to that as well. SW: Talk about your life in Israel – are you from there? When did you come to the US? YS: I lived in Jerusalem for eight years between the ages of ten and twenty. I spent two years on a kibbutz. Being Israeli doesn’t have a huge effect on my work, but the Israeli occupation of Palestine does. I feel guilty about it and try to do something about it. That’s why I make my containers, to evoke peace. Israelis start learning English in third grade. I don’t really have a language barrier, but I express myself better in Hebrew.
FO·MO ‘fōmō/ noun informal
1. anxiety that an exciting or interesting event may currently be happening elsewhere, often aroused by posts seen on a social media website.
Amelia Jones discusses Impossible Wants with Maura Pellettieri and Laurencia Strauss Amelia Jones: Maura Pellettieri invited me to her event Impossible Wants Tile Tour and Poetry Reading last November and I had to work, or I was too tired, or something, and I didn’t go. Afraid of missing out completely I asked Maura if I could write about Impossible Wants, a collaborative effort started by Laurencia Strauss. Strauss, whose interdisciplinary practice often involves the participation of the public, invited Pellettieri, a fiction writer, to collaborate, and together they put together a team of poets and artists to engage with the city as well as the City of St. Louis Street Department. The project took on a life of its own and lives in the city of St. Louis in the form of hand-made tiles embedded in the city streets. 11 ALLTHEARTSTL.COM FALL 2015
Maura Pellettieri: Impossible Wants is a collaboration between Laurencia and myself and it’s an experiment in that it’s an evolving series of exchanges between a lot of different types of creators in the city. It was important to figure out how all of these collaborations would work together, so the project was constantly evolving. Laurencia Strauss: This project is investigating vulnerability as a catalytic gesture in public space and how that encourages extensive interdependencies between self and other and self and the city. One of the groups that is important to us is the Situationist International (SI). They were involved in protesting social structures. They took the stones from the street to create holes in the road so it was hard for ARTIST INTERVIEWS
cars to pass. One of the phrases the Situationists used was, ‘beneath the paving stones, the beach!’ For me that phrase is for thinking about what is beneath the surface of the city and what are our unexpressed wants and desires. It’s talking about materiality but it also has a social component to it. I see this old city (St. Louis) as a place of shared spaces that witness our learning and growing (as individuals and as a city) across generations. The Situationists were primarily a pedestrian movement. Another group we referenced is Hybrid Center, a Tokyo- based group. The artists dressed up in medical garb and scrubbed the road and inspected it. People passing by thought that they were part of the city crew. It’s really like an absurd
LS: It took years of relationship building here in St. Louis. The city was skeptical, initially. I met regularly with Kent Flake, the commissioner of the streets. I think having a Toynbee tile here really helped. That was the point of entry. And we also had to do several tests to see what would work for the tiles. So we built a mutual trust by listening to the road crew about what would work and what wouldn’t when patching the road. We developed a flange for the tile so the tile would lock in place in the street. We were able to connect with the crew over language. I have done a lot of casting projects, so we could talk about what an undercut is. In casting, you don’t want your piece to lock up in your mold, but in this case we did. We wanted the tile to lock in with the street. We put the written poem down first in the street and the asphalt goes on top and then the tile gets some emulsion on the back and we put asphalt on the flange around the tile and then someone comes by and tamps it, and that was the process. I was literally driving around following this foreman trying to figure out where there were holes each day. MP: So with each poem there is a corresponding tile on Google that will tell you whose tile it is and where it is in the city.
Impossible Wants Installation (photo credit: Laurencia Strauss)
comedy, preparing this city for its external gaze and making sure that everything is ok. And we’ve also looked at Toynbee tiles. Toynbee tiles were here [in St. Louis at 8th and Market St.] and other cities in the United States. Nobody knows who made these [tiles] exactly, but we are appropriating some of this technology in our project. We are also looking at asphalt and thinking about asphalt as a relational material. You think of asphalt as a static material, but it isn’t, it’s always moving, it’s liquid, it’s negotiating relationships all the time. So thinking about what is more stiff and what is more flexible. Openings in the surface of the road are created by traffic, and there is a kind of mark-making between traffic and water and rock. MP: The site of the road is actually a place where we have multiple vulnerabilities and interdependency. We create these fissures [by driving on the road] and it’s the road crew’s job to fix the fissures, so it’s an on-going, unresolvable relationship. LS: In this project we are really interested in the road as this symbol of control and order and power and these little eruptions keep happening all the time and so how do you manage something that is actually unresolvable. It plays into that idea of vulnerability and also that people want to be assured that things are okay. You’ll often hear reports coming through that the roads are an indicator for just assuring people of the status of their city. MP: There were many steps to the process of the project. The beginning of the process is when we actually went out into the street and wrote poems in response to the desires of participants, who could be anyone that passed by us on the street. We went through a lot of possible questions that we would ask the public and we landed on this: AJ: What do you want that you can’t have and how do you deal with its impossibility?
LS: In St. Louis, the question of "What do you want that you can't have?" and "How do you deal with this impossibility" came from responding to individual experience and also just kind of a response to the city itself... of want, a past hey-day, waiting/empty spaces, desire/possibility for something else, the blues, creative strategic resilience. And honestly, I just wanted to know how people would respond to the question... all these unspoken desires that we walk around with - ourselves and the city. I was curious and I thought I might learn something. The poets and the artists mined that question through their creative abilities. I see these questions as something that makes connections across differences of race, class, gender, sexuality - in that we all encounter some relationship to want and impossibility. Maybe this creates an opportunity for understanding or compassion for others who may have similar or different impossible wants. Like the city, we are all managing survival, ambition, repair, uncertainty, failures and successes. Maybe the asking and the answering of these questions leads people to find their creative strategies or to feel so empowered that nothing that feels impossible to them, or maybe just the moment of reflection leads somewhere. Maura spoke to this some, about witnessing and considering this question with a stranger.
LS: We just recently took a tour of the tiles and we were excited to see how the tiles had changed. Some have moved, which is what we anticipated, but some have stayed. It’s important, that now there is something physical out there in the world, a physical site of these poems. MP: This is really poignant for me. The words are actually showing physical decay and you can see the bricks coming through so you can now see the layers of what was before. The Impossible Wants Team: Poets: Lucy Clark • Aaron Coleman • Patrick Johnson • Maura Pellettieri • Justin Phillip Reed Artists: Jennifer Baker • Natalie Baldeon • Lyndon Barrois Jr. • Lisa Bulawsky • Lauren Cardenas • Lucy Clark • Addoley Dzegede • Carling Hale • Cassie Jones • Cole Lu • Philip Matthews • Catalina Ouyang • Juliet Simone • Kellie Spano • Emily Squires • Laurencia Strauss City of St. Louis Street Department: Todd Waelterman • Kent Flake • Bill Burkhardt • Thomas Clemons • Chris Walker • Louis Butler • Willy Ligon • Lawrance Mack • Keith Wallace
MP: In the poetry process we chose a variety of public spaces that were differently cultured to get a variety of voices. We set up poetry booths inside and outside and offered to write a free poem to people who passed by. And we asked people to write down the answer to our question. We framed this as a gift exchange. They were giving us something we didn’t have, an answer, and we were giving them something that they didn’t have, which was a poem. We tried to offer a relief to their want through the poem. So we edited the poems and then we turned them over to the next team, the artists, and began the next part of the process which was making tiles that interpreted each poem. AJ: How did you approach the City of St. Louis Street Department? ARTIST INTERVIEWS
City of St. Louis Street Department Crew (photo credit: Laurencia Strauss) FALL 2015 ALLTHEARTSTL.COM 12
OCTOPUS CHICKEN: A CONVERSATION WITH COLE LU
Addoley Dzegede meets with Cole Lu to talk about language, communication, and a super sad true love story. Addoley Dzegede: So, I wanted to ask you some questions about your exhibition Super Sad True Love Story (SSTLS). I’ve noticed that you often use text written by authors other than yourself. In approaching SSTLS did you have any hesitations or worries about incorporating text from your own personal archive...for instance, the video [Ex Factor] with Catalina [Ouyang] when she is performing extractions from your I-messages with your ex? Cole Lu: So, whenever I use text from other authors, I usually extract it because it fits with whatever I want to convey, not just plagiarizing their text, because I combine it with my own so it creates an alternative fictional dialogue in a way. If you think about the history of appropriation in art —not just objects, texts are the same too— it’s utilizing the technique of erasure to alter the pre-existing text to [create] the new text. [The 2010 Gary Shteyngart novel] Super Sad True Love Story, overall, fits with my show, but I didn’t use the story at all. I just extracted part of it —the title of it—and how it hyperfocuses on the apparatuses that we use to communicate. Apparently it’s a story of a middle-aged guy falling in love with a young Asian girl, with that obvious fetishization of Asian females, and that’s why I asked Catalina to be the main image in the video. But I wanted to make it sincere, based on my own experience, so I extracted my own super sad true love story. I went through something like over 3000 texts in my archive, in my old phone. It was like an emotional rollercoaster at the time. It was horrible. I extracted those that could show the progression of the relationship, but also without being overly personal with life details, without putting my ex-partner on the spot because ... it doesn’t matter who she is, in a way. AD: You said you didn't want to call her out too much because it didn’t really matter who she was, but it’s interesting to think about how you can shift to think that way when your whole reason for being here in St. Louis was that person, and then how over time she becomes less important. CL: Yeah, it takes a while. I actually wrote a letter to her. I think right after I graduated. I think of it as a blessing, how she made me decide to come to St. Louis, and then I fell in love with the space and the place and the people here. So it was actually a thank you note for her (laughs). AD: I am curious whether or not you think that the personal aspects of SSTLS are a result of you moving your studio into your apartment? You know, like working in a domestic setting and thinking about home life. CL: It definitely changed a lot because I think the scale of production, and the materials chosen, are all because of the space and the resources that I have. I don't have access to a woodshop and a huge printer. It's a common issue for artists post-grad school. Your studio has been taken away, and you have to come up with an alternative strategy. 13 ALLTHEARTSTL.COM FALL 2015
AD: So I’d like to talk a bit about language. I’m really impressed by your range of language skills, but also fascinated by the slippages that come up. It highlights how much work communication takes, how much can be said and resaid, but still slip from your grasp in unexpected moments. I’ll always remember when we were in Chicago for the CAA (College Art Association) conference in 2014 and we were out eating noodles, and I can’t remember what we were talking about, but at one point you meant to say the word “dissection” and instead you said “octopus chicken,” and it’s a joke that we still have to this day, using an emoji shorthand even [ ]. But it was so fascinating to me that you completely lost the word you wanted in that moment. So, in terms of language in your work, can you talk about how being multilingual plays a role in the way you think and work? CL: I think that it's really interesting. I remember someone approached me with a question the other day and was like, "do you do translation in your head before you come out with a sentence?" I used to think of it that way, but now it's more like I have the meaning, and then I just speak it. It's more like choosing the language, and then you go into that system, instead of having a language constructed—in let's say Mandarin or Japanese or Taiwanese—then translating it. It doesn't work that way. It's more like a response toward meaning. And sometimes, with your memory of some vocabularies, it can easily get mixed. Sometimes that's why the "octopus" and "dissection"--(laughs)-- happens. I don't know why. I think I was watching Grey's Anatomy at the time, and then I was like, craving Spanish food or some seafood, and then it's just a weird mix in my head. I just slip into weird languages, even during daily conversation. I'm like what the hell did I just say to that person?! Same thing happened even to my mother language. I went back to Taiwan a couple months ago. I had massive communication issues. I was thinking about doing an artist proposal, [but] I can't translate my entire show into Mandarin, because it's so specifically a response to the English language. So when you translate it into Mandarin, meaning gets lost. I tried to translate it a little bit for [conveying at least] the main concept of the show, but if they are not bilingual, if they don't know English, it's not fun. And that is actually making me face a really severe, really difficult problem: I can't apply for grants or make any proposal with Mandarin, because my writing in Mandarin got bad. AD: Oh! (laughs) CL: I mean, I can write, but it will almost look like a Google Translate. It's weird. And sometimes I feel sad about it, like when I talk to my mom. At the beginning, I didn't even know how to use the Mandarin term of "installation art."
Cole Lu (photo credit: Courtesy of the artist)
AD: Yeah, because you learned all of that vocabulary here. CL: Yeah, I didn't have that vocabulary built before I moved here, that art vocabulary, in Mandarin, so I’d say, "well the thing I made is like you put a lot of things in the room, and that entire room is the work," and she'd [Lu's mother] come up with, "Oh! You are talking about installation." I'm like, "oh yeah, that's right!" (laughs) AD: That's so crazy. CL: And I couldn't even find the word "aesthetic.” It was insane. I was just thinking about the word, I was looking at my mom through Skype, I'm like, "you know ‘aesthetic?’ ‘critical?’” and she's like—she stared at me. She knows "aesthetic" in Mandarin. I didn't know it at that time. I forgot about the term. I didn't know how to describe it. Then she needs to use the dictionary or Google Translate when she's stalking me (laughs) on Facebook, or whenever we are talking or she'll hold her iPhone and say, "wait, what?" and then she would just put it in and say, "oh! You mean this." AD: It's interesting because it constantly makes you think about meaning. Like what does it really mean? How can I describe that? CL: Exactly. Cole Lu is Assistant Director at Fort Gondo Compound for the Arts, and Co-Director (with Jose Garza) of the Transversal Project. Lu’s projects include curating the debut exhibition at Insurance, a gallery in the new Granite City Art and Design District in Illinois, leading a zine workshop at the Pulitzer Arts Foundation, and an exhibition in conjunction with the Teen Museum Studies Program at the Contemporary Art Museum in St. Louis. Super Sad True Love Story was on view at Beverly in winter, 2014-15.
El St. Louis Artists’ Guild comienza una nueva etapa Noemi Oyarzabal
Esta prestigiosa institución que cumplirá 130 años en el 2016, donde artistas locales y regionales, colectores y amantes del arte comparten experiencias artísticas, exhiben y promueven las artes visuales, tiene más de 700 miembros. La organización cuenta con varias secciones que exploran tópicos de interés durante sus reuniones mensuales. Las secciones son fotografía, ilustración, artes plásticas, artesanías y comunicación del arte. El Artists' Guild fue creado en 1886 con el propósito de establecer un alto estándar en la apreciación del arte; promover y estimular la expresión artística de sus integrantes y de los miembros de la comunidad; y presentar el trabajo de artistas y artesanos en exposiciones, competiciones, y conferencias. Muchos artistas distinguidos e internacionalmente reconocidos estuvieron conectados con el St. Louis Artists’ Guild. Entre ellos se pueden mencionar a Max Beckman, Thomas Hart Benton, George Caleb Bingham, Charles Eames, Ray Eames, Joe Jones, Grant Wood, y Ernest Trova, Katherine Cherry, Siegfried Reinhardt, Charles Russell, Oscar Berninghaus entre otros.
Installation view of Move! All Media Exhibition at the St. Louis Artists’ Guild’s new Gallery at 7447 Forsyth (photo credit: Richard Reilly)
The St. Louis Artists' Guild opened its new gallery in the West Campus building of Washington University this summer as the venerable art organization prepares to celebrate its 130th year in St. Louis. Argentinian-born St. Charles resident, Noemi Oyarzabal, writes about that move in our on-going series of essays on art in the region by our immigrant neighbors. El St. Louis Artists’ Guild, una institución cultural creada para educar y promover las artes visuales, estrenó su nuevo edificio con la inauguración de una muestra titulada Move! el 2 de junio del 2015. La
nueva sede ubicada en el West Campus de la Washington University, se encuentra en el número 12 de la North Jackson Avenue en Clayton. Al terminar la remodelación, el edifico contará con una espaciosa galería de 5.000 pies cuadrados, taller de grabado, estudios, oficinas y estacionamiento. Kathryn Nahorski, La Directora Ejecutiva del Guild manifestó “Estoy entusiasmada con la maravillosa nueva galería que será el lugar perfecto para presentar, admirar e interactuar con artistas y amantes del arte.”
El 11 de septiembre se inaugurará la muestra titulada Pairings patrocinada por los artistas de fibra de Missouri (Missouri Fiber Artists, MoFA). La muestra estará abierta al público hasta el 18 de Octubre. Más de 80 artistas de Missouri y otros estados trabajaron en pares durante un año para crear piezas entre dos o mas artistas, que reflejan la influencia de la colaboración artística. La exhibición contará con más de 100 piezas. Las actividades gratuitas para niños de los días sábado así como las clases y los talleres se reanudarán en el mes de octubre. Para mayor información sobre membrecías, donaciones, voluntariado, programas educativos y exhibiciones, visitar la pagina web.
Sebiljska Fontana Srdjan Grubor Have you noticed something new at the center of St. Louis’s Bevo Mill neighborhood? Srdjan Grubor writes in his first language about a newly installed monument near the intersection of Gravois and Morgan Ford that is modeled after the Sebilj Monument in Bascarsija, Sarajevo. The Bosnian Community of St. Louis raised the funds for the project to celebrate the adopted home of the largest number of Bosnians outside of Bosnia on our 250th birthday! Ako ste proveli imalo veremena u St. Luisu ove godine, vjerovatno ste vidjeli velike rodjendanske torte ispred znacajnih kulturnih bjekata za proslavu 250-godisnjice grada. U centru Bivo Mila, blizu raskrsnice Grevoja i Morgan Forda, mozete sada naci jos jednu umjetno-kulturnu tacku koja proslavlja drugo rodjenje ovog grada: Fontana zvana Sebilj, donirana od Bosanske zajednice. St Luiski Sebilj je manja verzija originalne fontane Sebilj koja stoji na Bascarsij u centru Sarajeva. Tu istorijsku Bascarsijsku
fontanu je sagradio Mehmed Pasa Kukavica godine 1753 ali je pod uputstvom Aleksandara Viteka premjestena na svoju trenutnu lokaciju u 1891. St. Luis ima dugu tradiciju koristeci fontane da doprinese bolju ideju o istorij i kulturi ovog grada kao sto Karl Mils fontana “Meeting of the Waters” predstavlja sastajanje rjeka Misisipija i Mizurija. Fontana Sebilj koja oznacava imigraciju velikog broja izbjeglica is Bosne u ovu regiju u toku rata isto tako je sada znacna istorijska i kulturno tacka – cak ovaj grad trenutno je dom najvecem broju Bosanaca van Bosne! Bevo Sebilj je poklon umjetnosti i odlik jedinstva zajednice od grupe koja sada naziva St Luis svojim domom. Niko nemoze reci da St Luis nije sada dio globalne Bosanske dijaspore. Kulturna istorija Bosne i ovog grada su bile izprepletene vec godinama ali sa ovim zivim spomenikom bice jos blize.
Mehmed Pasa Kukavica, Sebilj Monument (photo credit: Semilla Bland)
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Art + Community in Saint Louis Sarah Hermes Griesbach
What’s Good In Public Art? Sensitivity of public artists to our greater St. Louis community varies. Many of our local artists ask difficult questions of themselves as they consider their role in public art projects: Is the collaboration between community art practitioners and the public respectful of all involved? Do all parties receive recognition? What about compensation? If there is a mentor-mentee relationship, whose career grows? Questions also arise about the legacy of such a project. What makes public art good? The St. Louis Public Art Consortium (STLPACK) offers curriculum kits using public art from the St. Louis metropolitan area, a project organized by Jane Birdsall-Lander. STLPACK describes successful public art as installations that: 1) are sensitive to community history, assets, issues and aspirations 2) are community and site-oriented, i.e. have internal qualities that allow the work to unify, surprise, 3) develop in an open, informed atmosphere, in order that expectations and goals are clear and shared 4) articulate and extend the values and vision of a community and is designed for a diverse audience 5) allow for artistic creativity and innovation with the added resources of community input, local character and materials The STLPACK guidelines for public art are only one working measurement of good public art that St. Louis art workers are putting to the test. Our regional artists and art institutions approach public art with motivations that range from a push for artists to engage in serious self-examination about the impact and legacy of their projects, to programs that consider public art as an exercise in city branding.
CATs Work With Not For In the years since its founding in 1997, the Community Arts Training Institute (CAT) has prepared more than 400 graduates to grapple with questions inherent in public art practice. The CAT Institute’s June exhibition With Not For at the Regional Arts Commission (RAC) was titled to encapsulate the most basic question that determines good and bad public art programs.
Map of CAT programs to date (detail), With Not For exhibition, at the RAC (photo credit: Sarah Hermes Griesbach) 15 ALLTHEARTSTL.COM FALL 2015
CAT alumna Emily Squires’ 2012 Manifesto for Community Arts hangs in the office of Roseann Weiss, Director of Community and Public arts at RAC. The Manifesto was removed from Weiss’ office to hang in the With Not For exhibit. It begins, “Art is a necessary tool for addressing social injustice in America. Community art seeks to make visible or ameliorate social injustice. But the work of community arts is not separate from systems of privilege, access and oppression.” This intense scrutiny is integral to the CAT ethos. The current iteration of the Pink House reflects that self-reflective critique. The Pink House, a modest bungalow in the Pagedale municipality of North St. Louis County, has origins tied to the work of Theaster Gates’ Rebuild Foundation. It is a neighborhood art space that is now supported by Beyond Housing. It was the first physical placement of a CAT program. Gina Martinez organizes the child-directed programming at the Pink House, where artist-adults are midwives to the ideas of the young people who show up. The artist-adults first need to consider the security of the artist-youth and endeavor to gain the confidence of the children’s families. After that, the work of the adults is to encourage the young to create. CAT alum Marcis Curtis worked with artist-youth at the Pink House to build chess sets. He has put considerable thought into the impact of his role as an artist-adult in the larger community and offers that “social practice holds numerous intense, complicated responsibilities.”
Vulnerable Communities Any community that an artist works within will have some degree of vulnerability. At Blank Canvas Studios in Saint Charles, the risk of unintentional exploitation is inherent and obvious. Blank Canvas is an art program organized by Resources for Human Development (RHD-Missouri), a nonprofit that creates services for people with developmental and intellectual disabilities. The Blank Canvas Studio artist instructors focus on their respect for the dignity of the program participants. Their primary goals include consistent examination of the intentions and impact of their programs. Similarly, Vision Strength Action (VSA) Missouri, founded by CAT alumnae, is a statewide organization promoting access to the arts for people with disabilities. Like the facilitators of Blank Canvas, VSA organizers work to ensure that the community participants they serve are never exploited. Their belief is that “art changes lives.” Their goal is to provide the opportunity for personal transformations through artistic production.
Artists working at the Pink House and at Blank Canvas Studios do not have any particular outcome in mind when they engage with their public. But when artists are commissioned to create art outcomes collaboratively with a community, the expectations are tied to product as well as process.
Model of the Pink House, With Not For exhibition at the Regional Arts Commission (photo credit: Sarah Hermes Griesbach)
That product is often tied to the goals of the organization funding the project. Organizations commissioning art may have more interest in the work of a design firm than an artist. Art may be chosen that emphasizes decorative features over work that is experimental and powerful. Blandly attractive public art isn’t inevitable, but public art that is profound or remarkable in any way only comes from intentional emphasis on the relevance of the art and the rigor of the artist. Artists William Burton Jr. and Robert Ketchens direct the Atelier D’Artiste 14 (formerly known as the 14th Street Artist Community Gallery) in the Old North neighborhood. They are responsible for the new mural celebrating Olympic runner Jesse Owens on the corner of North 14th Street and St. Louis Avenue. The Owens mural, completed last June, was commissioned by Focus Films to promote the upcoming biographical sports-drama Race. Burton and Ketchens developed the project as part of their Raw Canvas program with artist apprentices Arieona Burse, Darryl Reece and Nia Price. Burton and Ketchens, both CAT alumnae, are confident in their ability to navigate their way through the fraught task of corporate commissions to work ethically within the community. They consider heavily their intentions and the legacy of their projects. Ketchens asserts that “Art is a noble profession. We have to make a living. However, we cannot be bought or muzzled.” In June, Burton and Ketchens designed murals for a Metro Art Bus that attendees of the Green Homes Festival then painted. The uninitiated might confuse the painted Art Bus with a bus wrap designed by a commercial graphic artist. You’ve seen both. One important difference between the two is that while there are acknowledgements of all the Art Bus funders with logos and text on the rear of the bus, the main message of the Art Bus is from the non-profit sponsor. It is not a commercial for the underwriter.
Possibilities and Limitations David Allen, director of Metro’s Arts in Transit program, is a member of a national organization that created a handbook of “Best Practices for Integrating Art into Capital Projects” for the American Public
Transportation Association. The Handbook lists benefits of art in transit that provide an example of the natural limitations placed on artists who win commissions: Art in transit should *encourage ridership, * improve perception of transit, *convey customer care, *enhance community livability, *improve customer experience, *improve organizational identity, *deter vandalism and *increase safety and security. These goals make perfect sense for Metro to consider, but they really only speak to the
promotion of the transit system. As an art administrator, Allen knows that commissioned art installations can do more than decorate public spaces. Well-conceived public art can educate and inspire. The murals that Burton and Ketchens created for the 2015 Metro Art Bus celebrate the beauty of the environment and stress the importance of protecting it. The project was sponsored by the EarthWays Center of the Missouri Botanical Gardens and
ultimately paid for by the Green Homes Festival underwriter, Ameren Missouri. Ameren touts a legacy of environmental stewardship. The Metro Art Bus themes were chosen to showcase energy efficiency, not to call attention to the high-level nuclear waste storage of Ameren Missouriâ€™s Callaway 1 nuclear reactor (located about 15 miles southeast of Fulton). Pointing the public toward less rosy truths is typically left to a different form of artistic production.
METROâ€™s Art In Transit Art Bus, mural design by William Burton Jr. and Robert Ketchens (photo credit: Richard Reilly) COMMUNITY VOICES
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Women’s Work- The Lost Cause Amy Hunter, Director of Racial Justice, YWCA "Free Bree!" was shouted as Bree Newsome climbed the 30 foot flagpole and took down the Confederate flag that had flown over the state Capitol in Columbia, South Carolina. A symbol of racist laws, practices and belief systems in America, the Confederate flag is also a reminder that justification for the intergenerational enslavement of humans can be explained away by a conversation of states’ rights. While South Carolina has been the focal point of this debate, we have our own version of the Confederate flag in St. Louis.
narratives of honor that the southern confederates wholeheartedly believed were the positive recollections from the failed civil war (Gallagher, 2000).
I was recently at a book swap, a place where women gather, bring books they've enjoyed reading and swap them for another book. It is a wonderful time. While at this integrated, convivial event, I learned that there is a large Confederate statue in our beloved Forest Park, located on (believe it or not) Confederate Way. I listened carefully as this roomful of white women spoke of their desire to remove the statue from the park. Of course, like others, we were surprised that such a monument would exist in a city that is almost fifty percent African-American and prides itself on efforts to create a more inclusive community. I, like the other women, wanted this 32 foot statue removed from the park.
Bree Newsome took the flag down in South Carolina only to see it flown once again until the South Carolina legislature took action. Won’t you join the call for our St. Louis lawmakers to install art that emotes love in Forest Park, instead of remnants of hatred, lynchings, bloodshed and inhumane treatment? If we are going to be the city we envision, our public art should be a reflection of all our desires.
So, I did some research to understand how this symbol of the Confederacy ended up in one of the most beautiful and serene parks in the country. I learned that a women's group, the Ladies of the Confederate Monument Association, affiliated with the United Daughters of the Confederacy, assisted in getting the George Zolnay statue to the park where it was dedicated in 1915. The piece features a relief of The Angel of the Spirit of the Confederacy, and some use that title for the piece, while others draw a stronger correlation to "The Lost Cause,” as in the Lost Cause Movement, a literary and cultural phenomenon that began shortly after the war to continue the white supremacy ideology and
I am encouraged as an associate of the YWCA, the oldest women’s organization in the United States, to see women’s vision and leadership in the effort to have this piece removed from Forest Park. We are a community filled with amazing artists. We could creatively design a piece that honors racial and gender inclusion in our city.
I am looking forward to changing Confederate Way to Liberation Circle and invoking the understanding that liberation and equity are the goals for us all. I am looking forward to the statue of Peace, Hope and Love instead of the Lost Cause. May we embrace the belief that none of us is a lost cause and the work of St. Louis women is toward love and peace.
George Zolnay, The Angel of the Spirit of the Confederacy, (photo credit: Richard Reilly)
George Zolnay, The Angel of the Spirit of the Confederacy, (photo credit: Richard Reilly)
Art and History Collide: Help bring Ritziata to South Grand! Michael R. Allen / Director, Preservation Research Office Walter Gunn, Artist The human impulse to create entryways to common spaces for ceremony, entertainment and inspiration, both communal and personal, remains strong in us. In the early 20th century, the Juniata Theatre was built. Though the name changed to the Ritz and the façade was altered, then torn down altogether, this small lot on South Grand has now been made a permanent common space for a society continuing to explore its humanity. We are proposing the people once again be given a façade to approach.
Andrew Petty, Ritziata artist rendering (photo credit: Courtesy of the artist)
17 ALLTHEARTSTL.COM FALL 2015
A successful urban streetscape is an ensemble act; a cast of facades whose architectural characters act out ambiance and image. They are the critical interface between inner and outer space. The vitality of a historic district, and its city, depends on its façades and like a missing tooth from a smile, a missing façade has a negative impact. COMMENTARY
In essence, we envision a steel outline echoing architectural elements and gesture from the Art Nouveau Juniata and Art Moderne Ritz façades in a unified homage. We call it, RITZIATA. Like a pen and ink drawing suspended in air, its two-story height will fill in the streetscape to complement its neighboring structures, create a formal entrance for the park, and using negative space, provide visual separation from the busy boulevard. Help us make this project a reality! Visit the South Grand Ritz Park Art Installation Project crowdfunding campaign on the Indiegogo website to view the full story, budget, and information about the project's artists. We appreciate your support of our effort to integrate historic preservation and public art on South Grand!
FOOTNOTES Did something in these pages spark an interest? We’ve assembled a bit of further information for you to follow up on what you’ve read. Keep this copy of All the Art. Keep every future issue of All the Art. If you do, you will soon have a wonderful record of local gallery and museum exhibitions and a bit of insight into the lives of our regional artists.
Artists reviewed with recommended websites: www.LiatYossifor.com, www.SolomonThurman.com, www.RonLaboray.com Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis: 3750 Washington Blvd, St. Louis, MO 63108 Reese Gallery: 3410 Wisconsin St, St. Louis, MO 63118 Sheldon Art Gallery: 3648 Washington Blvd, St. Louis, MO 63108 The Luminary: 2701 Cherokee St, St. Louis, MO 63118 Beverly Gallery, Fort Gondo Compound for the Arts: 3155 Cherokee St., St. Louis, MO, 63118 The Suburban Gallery: www.TheSuburban.org Saint Louis University Prison Arts and Education Program: www.slu.edu/prison-program A documentary short film on the life of Kit Keith : www.KitKeithComfortofMemory.tumblr.com
Places and Spaces
www.sculpturecitystl.com Richard Serra: www.pbs.org/art21/artists/richard-serra Alexander Calder: www.theartstory.org/artist-calder-alexander Aristide Maillol: www.aristide-maillol.com Jacques Lipchitz: www.jacques-lipchitz.com Mark Di Suvero: www.spacetimecc.com Dred Scott Heritage Foundation: www.thedredscottfoundation.org
www.cole-lu.com www.impossiblewants.wordpress.com www.yaelshomronipottery.com
Arts in Transit: www.artsintransit.org St. Louis Public Art Consortium www.stlpack.org Beyond Housing: www.beyondhousing.org Regional Arts Commission and Community Artist Training (CAT) Institute: www.racstl.org Regional Arts Commission: 6128 Delmar Blvd, St. Louis, MO 63112 Missouri Botanical Garden’s Earthway’s Center: 4651 Shaw Ave, St. Louis, MO 63110 Ameren environmental stewardship: www.ameren.com/environment Missouri Coalition for the Environment: www.moenviron.org Resources for Human Development (RHD) Missouri: www.rhd-mo.org
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https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/south-grand-s-ritz-park-art-installation/x/10411880#/story St. Louis YWCA: 3820 West Pine Blvd., St. Louis, MO 63108