Saturday, March 30, 2013

Sacred Ground: Wounded Knee

Spotted Elk in Death, photo credit:  [PBS Archives]
The historian Frederick Jackson Turner noted in his essay, “The Significance of the Frontier in American History,” Report of the American Historical Association (1893): 199-227.1

"In a recent bulletin of the Superintendent of the Census for 1890 appear these significant words: "Up to and including 1880 the country had a frontier of settlement, but at present the unsettled area has been so broken into by isolated bodies of settlement that there can hardly be said to be a frontier line. In the discussion of its extent, its westward movement, etc., it can not, therefore, any longer have a place in the census reports." This brief official statement marks the closing of a great historic movement. Up to our own day American history has been in a large degree the history of the colonization of the Great West. The existence of an area of free land, its continuous recession, and the advance of American settlement westward, explain American development."

However, the year 1890 not only marks the disappearance of the American frontier, insofar as unsettled areas had been so broken up that there was not any longer evidence of a frontier line, but of the last significant American Indian massacre at Wounded Knee and the subjugation of proud peoples.

Here's an eyewitness account via Wikipedia;

"Black Elk (1863–1950); medicine man, Oglala Lakota:  ""I did not know then how much was ended. When I look back now from this high hill of my old age, I can still see the butchered women and children lying heaped and scattered all along the crooked gulch as plain as when I saw them with eyes young. And I can see that something else died there in the bloody mud, and was buried in the blizzard. A people's dream died there. It was a beautiful dream ... the nation's hoop is broken and scattered. There is no center any longer, and the sacred tree is dead.""  (Source: Black Elk Speaks, c. 1932)

Via [NYTimes]  
"WOUNDED KNEE, S.D. — Ever since American soldiers massacred men, women and children here more than a century ago in the last major bloodshed of the American Indian wars, this haunted patch of rolling hills and ponderosa pines has embodied the combustible relationship between Indians and the United States government."

"It was here that a group of Indian activists aired their grievances against the government with a forceful takeover in 1973 that resulted in protests, a bloody standoff with federal agents and deep divisions among the Indian people."

"And now the massacre site, which passed into non-Indian hands generations ago, is up for sale, once again dragging Wounded Knee to the center of the Indian people’s bitter struggle against perceived injustice — as well as sowing rifts within the tribe over whether it would be proper, should the tribe get the land, to develop it in a way that brings some money to the destitute region."

Does paying homage to righteous memory have a high price? Apparently.

And since murdered children are recently in the news, here's another link to the events of the massacre with many photos and eyewitness accounts.

The Wound Knee museum's website is here.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Berlin Wall Coming Down Again

via [Spiegel OnLine] March 27, 2013 – 02:00 PM

"It disappeared in the night, just as it had come. On an August morning in 1961, Berliners woke up to find their city divided by the beginnings of what would become the Berlin Wall. On Wednesday, the city's residents woke to find that a chunk of it had been removed -- something a vocal minority seems to see as an event of equal historical outrage."

"The 1.3-kilometer (0.8-mile) landmark, known as the East Side Gallery, is the longest remaining stretch of the Berlin Wall. Four of its sections were dismantled early Wednesday morning to make wake way for the construction of a luxury high-rise building. Anticipating protest from residents, some 250 police officers were deployed for the operation, a spokesman told the Berlin daily Der Tagesspiegel."

This is the part where I say that I'm glad I got to see it before it came down a second time. I was glad to see it come down the first time.

Nancy Charak, photograph
Nancy Charak, photograph
Nancy Charak, photograph

Nancy Charak, photograph

Nancy Charak, photograph
Nancy Charak, photograph

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

The Art World is In Your Head

John Sevigny, photographer "Serrenata 2006."

Via the always brilliant [John Sevigny]

"While sometimes good for bathroom reading or making fun of some sucker who just spent a fortune on a Damien Hirst (buy the yacht next time, fella), art magazines exist because galleries pay Big Money to advertise in them." 

"The art world is in your head, in your heart, down on the corner in Chicago where that homeless guy sells tin cans cleverly turned into windchimes (or whatever), and of course, at Gone City. You can sometimes find art on Facebook. You can always find it on the walls of rundown buildings in El Salvador, Memphis, Austin or anywhere else bored kids get together to paint things. The art industry has existed for a few centuries. As far as anyone knows, art has existed for 30,000 years. Art does not need an industry. But the industry needs art, because after all, industries have to produce something to survive as industries."

"We agree with Robert Smithson that museums are where art goes to die. It works like this: Somebody makes something good and calls it art. Somebody likes it and buys it. It goes up in the happy buyer's home. Happy buyer dies (because with the exception of bad art, everything dies). Good and useful object ends up at small auction house because the happy buyer's heirs don't particularly think Matisse/Otto Dix/Jackson Pollock are important or relevant to their lives. Very wealthy private collector picks up art object for a third of its estimated value, before (like everything else) dying and donating his collection to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. Art object is filed away in a warehouse for possible exhibition sometime in the future (but probably not)."


Passover Explained in 2 Minutes...

via [Andrew Sullivan]

Thursday, March 21, 2013

HELLO!!! Art Institute of Chicago, HELLO!!!

via [Hyperallergic]

Photo credit: Hyperallergic

"The Metropolitan Museum director Thomas P. Campbell announced today that starting this summer on July 1, the museum will stay open every day of the week."

HELLO, Art Institute of Chicago, the way to art lovers' hearts is through the open door.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Suspects Identified in Gardner Museum Heist

It's a nibble not a bite. Via [Hyperallergic]

"Today, the FBI announced that they have identified possible suspects in the shocking 1990 Isabella Gardner Stewart Museum heist of $500m worth of art, which included three works by Rembrant, Vermeer’s “The Concert” (1658–1660), Govaert Flinck’s “Landscape with an Obelisk” (1638), five works by Edgar Degas, Edouard Manet’s “Chez Tortoni” (1878–1880), and a historic Chinese beaker (1200–1100 BCE)."

"The theft, which happened 23 years ago today, is the largest property crime in history, according to FBI investigators. Special Agent-in-Charge of the FBI’s Boston Field Office Richard DesLauriers said during the afternoon press conference in Boston that they have “made significant investigative progress” in their investigation. DesLauriers explained that they have been able to connect the robbery with a crime organization with a base in the Mid-Atlantic region. According to DesLauriers, it is with a ”high degree of confidence” that the “art was transported to Connecticut and Philadelphia area.” DesLauriers also explained that at least one of the works was offered for sale in the Philadelphia area but did not elaborate on that particular incident."

The FBI has set up a website:

I especially hope for the recovery of the Vermeer, "The Concert," there are so few of them, a mere 36. 

Vermeer, The Concert

Vermeer at the Rijksmuseum, Nancy Charak photo

Here's a video from the FBI:

Friday, March 15, 2013

Robots Again. . .This Time Aerial

In keeping with what is a recurring theme on this blog, that robots are becoming more and more autonomous.

Artist of the Day: Joyce Owens

Joyce Owens, artist

Joyce Owens, artist

Joyce Owens, artist

Busy blogging day, nice. Here's my artist of the day, Joyce Owens, the link is to her exhibits throughout the world at the behest of the United States Department of State. The link takes you to her Swaziland exhibition which is now on-line. Below are other links in other embassies where Joyce's work has been shown, Stockholm, Addis Ababa, Monrovia, Nato Headquarters in Brussels.

Paper Does Have a Future. . .

via [Andrew Sullivan]

Beware the Ides of March

Vincenzo Camucini, Le Mort de Cesare

Medieval Woodcut
Screen Grab from HBO TV Series, Rome, Ciaran Hinds as Julius Caesar

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Artist of the Day: Leon Ferrari

Yes, my artist of the day is Leon Ferrari, an Argentinian conceptual artist. Yes, his work is blasphemous, so what?


[Artlyst], and via [Glasstire]

"Conservative protestors and Catholic church authorities in Argentina launched furious attacks on three art exhibitions during the same period, and succeeded in shutting two of them down, on the grounds that they were an insult to Christianity. The first of the censored shows, closed to the public on Dec. 17, 2004. It featured the works of renowned Argentine artist León Ferrari, who stated that his greatest sin was having confessed that he didn't believe in hell.

Ferrari's Buenos Aires show depicted images of Jesus and the Virgin Mary as well as various saints in a blender, an electric toaster and a frying pan. Shortly after the exhibit opened Cardinal Bergoglio, the than Archbishop of Buenos Aires, declared that the exhibition was "blasphemous" and demanded its closure".

Orchestrated Protests erupted in the area and Cardinal Bergoglio accused the artist of "blasphemy" in an open letter, prompting a group of Catholic lawyers, who called for the show to be closed. A handful of fanatics also invaded the cultural centre and smashed several of the pieces on display, accidentally injuring a woman who was visiting the the gallery. A judge later ordered the city government to close the Ferrari retrospective, because it "wounded the sensibilities of Christians." According to her statement, the show invaded the privacy of practising Catholics, who constituted the majority and subsequently this gave the court the right to impose their will in having the exhibition closed."

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Express Ride to an Artistic Career via Helsinki

via [Hyperallergic]

"There are plenty of ways to think about planning an artistic career. Are you aiming to be the enfant terrible, a young provocateur? Or are you playing the long game, sticking with your work until it gets recognized? In The Guardian, Oliver Burkeman outlines a new theory of creative growth that I hadn’t heard of before — the “Helsinki Bus Station Theory.”"

"“Let’s say, metaphorically speaking, that each bus stop represents one year in the life of a photographer,” he explains. After three years, Minkkinen’s metaphorical photographer has been making platinum prints of nudes, like Irving Penn. He takes the prints to the Museum of Fine Arts to show them to the curators, but the curators show you Penn’s work, and you freak out, “hop off the bus, grab a cab (because life is short) and head straight back to the bus station looking for another platform,” and start over again."

"If you don’t take a step back from the cycle, that process of repetition “goes on all your creative life, always showing new work, always being compared to others,” Minkkinen says. What to do instead? “It’s simple. Stay on the bus.” Staying on the bus means staying on your own aesthetic path till the end, following it through to its conclusion and not getting distracted from that pursuit by comparisons with other artists or aesthetic trends."

STAY ON THE BUS. You'll get to where you want to go.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Sacred Spaces: Stonehenge Rave Spot

Stonehenge, Nancy Charak photo

Stonehenge, Nancy Charak photo

Avebury, Nancy Charak photo

Avebury Circle, Google Earth capture
Via [Discovery News]

"". . .analysis of cattle teeth from 80,000 animal bones excavated from the site also suggest that around 2500 BC, Stonehenge was the site of vast communal feasts.

These would have been attended by up to one tenth of the British population at one time in what. . . resembled "Glastonbury festival and a motorway building scheme at the same time."

It seemed that ancient people traveled to celebrate the winter and summer solstices but also to build the monument, he said.

"Stonehenge was a monument that brought ancient Britain together,". . .

"What we?ve found is that people came with their animals to feast at Stonehenge from all corners of Britain -- as far afield as Scotland.""

It is nice to be able to speculate on what uses the ancients had for Stonehenge or for the even larger circle at Avebury, whose outer circle has a diameter of 331.6 metres (1,088 ft), and is Britain's largest stone circle.

Access to Stonehenge is carefully monitored, there are guardrails and the ever present CCTV, whereas Avebury is wondrous accessible even for the sheep and to the church, the pub and the gift shop.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Nancy Charak Open Studios Fri March 22 6 to 10pm

First of the 2013 Year!

The Cornelia Arts Building, Where Art Works, Open Studios, Friday, March 22, from 6 to 10pm.

Featuring the art of Nancy Charak and the other fine artists of the Cornelia Arts Building!
1800 W. Cornelia
1 block south of Addison at Ravenswood

We've got live music and gourmet food trucks and stunning fine art. You don't want to miss this.

Come on by.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Sacred Struggle: Bread and Roses

via [Anne Laurie, Balloon Juice]

Today is International Women's Day; every day should be international women's day.

"We, the people, declare today that the most evident of truths—that all of us are created equal—is the star that guides us still; just as it guided our forebears through Seneca Falls and Selma and Stonewall; just as it guided all those men and women, sung and unsung, who left footprints along this great Mall, to hear a preacher say that we cannot walk alone; to hear a King proclaim that our individual freedom is inextricably bound to the freedom of every soul on earth."--Barack Obama's Second Inaugural

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Artist of the Day: Jessica Stockholder

Artist of the day, Jessica Stockholder.

Art by Jessica Stockholder, Palacio de Cristal, Madrid, Nancy Charak, photo
Art by Jessica Stockholder, Palacio de Cristal, Madrid, Nancy Charak, photo
Screen grab from Google Art, art by Jessica Stockholder, Palacio de Cristal, Reina Sofia, Madrid

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Sacred Objects: Missing Bricks from the Ishtar Gate

via [The Art Newspaper]

"Four hundred fragments of bricks from Babylon’s Ishtar Gate and Processional Way have been stolen. The local Iraqi press reported the loss of 33 pieces last October, but in February the minister of tourism and antiquities, Liwa Sumaism, gave the much higher figure. These came from the Nebuchadnezzar Museum, at the entrance to the city founded in 575BC. The blue-glazed bricks have golden images of bulls, lions and dragons. Excavated from 1900 onwards by German archaeologists, many of the bricks with images were taken to the Pergamon Museum in Berlin. Part of the structure was reconstructed by Saddam Hussein with modern replicas."

Ishtar Gate, Oriental Institute, Chicago. photo Nancy Charak
Ishtar Gate, Pergamon Museum, Berlin, Nancy Charak photo

Ishtar Gate, Pergamon Museum, Berlin, Nancy Charak photo

My only comment is they finally noticed that some of the bricks are missing?

Video at bottom of post:

Visit The Oriental Institute on the University of Chicago campus.

Go to Berlin, visit the Pergamon Museum.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Why is American Indian Art in Natural History Museums?

via [Real Clear Arts, Judith Dobryznski]

in which she quotes [Indian Country Today]

"...Natural history museums—they are all over the US and abroad too. They house amazing dinosaur fossils, exotic hissing cockroaches, and wondrous planetariums—right next to priceless human-designed art and artifacts created by Native peoples of the Americas.

Like me, you might wonder why these designed objects are juxtaposed with objects of nature such as redwood trees and precious metal exhibits. Yes, of course art is part of the natural world that we live in—but then, why are there no Picasso paintings or Degas sculptures on display in the American Museum of Natural History?

…When Native American, Pacific, and African art and artifact is lumped in with natural history exhibits, it sends a message that these groups are a part of the “natural” world. That the art they produce is somehow less cultured and developed than the western art canon. It also sends the message that they are historical, an element of the romantic past, when in reality these peoples are alive and well, with many traditions intact and new traditions happening all the time."

I grew up in the Field Museum of Chicago, this is a topic that needs to be discussed; why is Native American art housed in natural history museums instead of in art museums? The Heard Museum in Phoenix does a pretty good job of displaying Indian art as art.

The Tamale Spaceship Coming to Cornelia!

Update: These folks will be our food truck, YUM!

The Tamale Spaceship:

Nancy Charak paintings and drawings at the Cornelia Arts Building Open Studios
1800 W. Cornelia
1 block south of Addison at Ravenswood
Friday March 22 from 6 to 10pm

We've got live music and THE TAMALE SPACESHIP, you should come on by.

Quick, Your Favorite Painting Is?

Paul Delvaux, artist, The Village of the Mermaids

In response to the question, quick, don't think, don't hesitate, "What's your favorite painting, Nancy?", here it is. It is in the Art Institute of Chicago, which is where I took Saturday classes in high school, wandering through the galleries of the place. For a while the painting was shelved in abeyance of the construction of the modern wing, where it now resides. I visit it every time I'm in the museum. I can't explain why it fascinates me, but it has for many, many years.

The women in long skirts are sitting mute, puissant, lonely perhaps, bathed in the light of an ocean sun, down the path is a man in formal attire, maybe holding a stopwatch, behind which mermaids take to the sea from a beach. Where are they, why do they seem so sad, and the man with the stopwatch is?

I've just heard from Catgirl, her favorite is Van Gogh's Bedroom in Arles, of which a total of three versions exist, one in the Art Institute of Chicago, one at the D'Orsay in Paris and a third in the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam.

This video treats the Van Gogh Museum's efforts to deal with discoloration over the years.